Posted on August 24, 2021 at 1:02 PM
A hacking group has released what it claims is surveillance footage of an Iranian prison where some political prisoners are been held.
The head of Iran’s prison system, Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi, has also admitted that the videos shared online are from the Evin Prison in Iran. He said that he is taking the blame and responsibility for the incident.
Mohammad’s comment came barely 24 hours after the Associated Press published some of the videos, with some reports about abuses some of the inmates are suffering.
There have been reported cases of inhumane treatments suffered by some of the political prisoners in the facility in Northern Tehran.
Human rights abuse against political prisoners
Mohammad, while commenting on Twitter, promised to bring the perpetrators to book and prevent a repeat of such incidence.
The Iranian hacktivist group, known as Tapandegan (Palpitations), initially released the videos, claiming that they were acquired from hackers known as Edalat-e Ali (Ali’s Justice). According to the hacktivist group, the videos are circulated to create emphasis on the extreme levels of human rights abuse against political prisoners in the country.
Tapandegan stated that the images and videos are proof that there is a high level of injustice against political prisoners who are not in favor of the policies of the government.
The group also said they have more videos to release, including those from the prison control room, cells, wards. They also admitted that they have possession of classified prison documents and political prisoners’ files.
In one of the viral videos, a middle-aged prisoner was dragged upstairs after falling to the ground and passing out. While he was being dragged, some of the prison workers were passing by without any objection.
Prisoners in dire condition
In another video, inmates were seen sleeping in single rooms with bunk beds stacked very close to each other and high against the walls. The prisoners were covering themselves in blankets to try and stay warm.
Iranian human rights activists based abroad as well as four formers prisoners at the facilities also admitted that the videos were from the facility in Northern Tehran.
Also, some of the scenes in the video were the same as some scenes captured by photographs of the facility previously taken by journalists.
The Evin prison has been notorious for several reports about the maltreatment of prisoners, some of whom were there because they opposed the policies of the Iranian government.
But this is the first real evidence in support of the various claims, and it remains to be seen how the situation will be handled.
However, after apologizing and vowing to make the perpetrators face the law, Mohammad did not comment on the situation at the prison. He didn’t address the abuse at Evin the videos have exposed.
The prison was built in 1971 under Iran’s Shah. The facility has become one of the most notorious prisons in the world. It has been repeatedly used in a series of abuses on prisoners and other perceived enemies of the state who oppose the government.
Some of the prisoners in Evin have been there since 2009 after the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
After reports of abuse at the facility emerged, lawmakers demanded reforms at the prison, leading to the installation of closed-circuit cameras.
A protest against Iranian Supreme Leader
Tapandegan stated that the hackers attacked a way to protest against the appointment of Ebrahim Raisi by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to the presidency. The group reiterated that it is going to carry out more actions to continue the protest against the government.
It also said more revelations will be made to let the world know how Raisj and the regime are maltreating people in the country.
Internet security expert, Hojjat Fadaei, commented that based on the images and video released, there is no doubt that the hackers accessed the data of a “very large” scope.
The Edalat-e Ali hackers, who are basically on the side of Shia Islam, have not been linked with any hacking incident in the past. But Tapandegan has always been in the news for their exploits, especially against several Iranian government agencies.
The group was first known after hacking into the servers at Mashhad International Airport, positing images and anti-government messages on arrival information screens.