Iranian official recognizes Evin prison abuse videos as real
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The head of the Iranian prison system admitted Tuesday that videos allegedly received by a self-proclaimed hacking group depicting abuses in the Islamic Republic’s infamous Evin Prison are real, he said I took responsibility for the “unacceptable behavior”. ”
Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi’s comment came a day after The Associated Press released portions of the videos and a report of abuse at the facility in northern Tehran, long known for holding political prisoners and people with Western ties to the Iran is used as a bargaining chip in international negotiations.
On Twitter, Hajmohammadi promised “to avoid repeating such bitter incidents and to confront the perpetrators”.
“I apologize to Almighty God, dear Supreme Leader, our great nation and noble prison officials whose efforts are not ignored because of the misconduct of others,” he wrote.
State television in Iran also reported on Hajmohammadi’s statements.
However, Hajmohammadi did not offer a plan on how to address the abuses at Evin. Since its construction in 1971 under the Shah of Iran, the prison has seen a series of ill-treatment that continued into the Islamic Republic.
After Iran cracked down on demonstrators following the controversial re-election of tough President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, many of the arrested demonstrators ended up in Evin. Legislators later pushed for reforms at Evin after reports of abuses in prison were reported – which resulted in the installation of the surveillance cameras.
In one piece of footage, a man smashes a bathroom mirror in an attempt to cut open his arm. Prisoners – and even guards – beat each other in scenes recorded by surveillance cameras. Inmates sleep in single rooms with bunk beds stacked three high against the walls and wrapped in blankets to keep warm.
Four former prisoners in Evin and an Iranian human rights activist overseas told the AP that the videos resemble areas from the facility in northern Tehran. Some of the scenes also matched photographs of the facility previously taken by journalists, as well as images of the prison as seen on satellite photos accessed by AP.
An online account that shared the videos with the AP is called “The Justice of Ali”, a reference to the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, who is revered by the Shiites. It also mocks Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. However, the account did not respond to AP questions about its membership or how the hack was performed.
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.
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