A hacktivist group claiming to be working in Iran to uncover the “regime’s true colors” has released new footage that sheds light on the inhumane conditions at the country’s most notorious prison.
The new video, made available exclusively to RFE/RL’s Radio Farda this week by Edalat-e Ali (Ali’s Justice), adds to the evidence of extreme overcrowding at Tehran’s Evin prison.
The footage shows prisoners lying wall to wall on the floor, stacked three high on metal bunk beds. As the camera moves from open cell to open cell, each equipped with beds for about 30 inmates, it shows rooms filled with up to 50 inmates.
RFE/RL could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
It’s unclear when the footage was taken, but Iran has consistently done so come under criticism by law enforcement officers over overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in its prisons, a problem that has contributed to COVID infections and deaths.
Edalat-e Ali has released a series of hacked videos and confidential documents that have exposed the systematic mistreatment of inmates at Evin prison. The leaks have even led to the rare official acknowledgment that prison abuses were taking place at the facility, which mainly houses political prisoners.
Earlier videos, hacked from surveillance cameras and released by Radio Farda, among others, showed prison guards attacking inmates and inhumane conditions at the facility. The documents leaked by the hacktivist group detailed how Evin prison authorities took tough steps to break hunger strikes by prominent prisoners, including denying them visitation rights and cutting off phone access.
Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi, the head of Iran’s prison organization, published one in August excuse and claimed responsibility for the “unacceptable behavior” in prison while Justice Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei ordered an investigation.
It later emerged that members of the prison staff had been suspended and some cases had been referred to a military court. Meanwhile, a member of parliament called for those responsible for publishing the video leaks to be punished.
The emergence of the clips also led to harsh criticism from international law enforcement officials.
“This disturbing footage offers a rare glimpse into the atrocities routinely inflicted on detainees in Iran,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. called in August. “It is shocking to see what is happening within the walls of Evin prison, but unfortunately the abuses depicted in these leaked video clips are just the tip of the iceberg of Iran’s torture epidemic.”
Last month, Amnesty said leaked documents showing that the Iranian government had ignored requests from prison officials for additional resources to control the spread of the coronavirus “stand in stark contrast” to claims by the judiciary, on which they are taking initiatives had taken Protecting inmates from the pandemic.
“Overcrowding, poor ventilation, lack of basic sanitation and medical equipment, and willful neglect of prisoners’ health issues make Iran’s prisons a perfect breeding ground for COVID-19,” Amnesty said.
Edalat-e Ali said in an interview with Radio Farda in November that these are Iranians working and living in Iran who are trying to expose human rights abuses in the country.
In February, the group announced in a call to Radio Farda that Ghezel Hesar prison in the city of Karaj had been hacked.
The group provided Radio Farda with a list of hundreds of Iranians arrested during student protests in 1998 and held in Ghezel Hesar prison.