Iranian officials make contradictive remarks on leaked footage of rights abuses in Evin prison

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, August 30, 2021—A week after videos leaked from Iran’s notorious prison revealed a fraction of the crimes committed in Iran’s prisons, regime officials still don’t know how to respond and are making contradictive remarks.

On Sunday, Mohammad Mossadegh, the first deputy of the judiciary, claimed that some of the videos that have been published on social media are “fabricated” and “have nothing to do with the prison.”

The footage, which was released online by a group of hackers who had obtained access to recordings from CCTV cameras inside the prison, shows guards beating and dragging prisoners on the floor. The videos also show inmates attempting to commit suicide, overcrowded cells, and cells with horrible conditions.

The videos were widely distributed online and generated much discussion on social media.

According to the state-run ISNA news agency, Mossadegh said, “Some of the videos—not all—have been recorded from other places and have nothing to do with the judiciary.”

Also on Sunday, Hassan Norouzi, the deputy-chairman of the Majlis judicial and legal committee, told ISNA, “I still haven’t been able to answer the question as to why in the videos of Evin prison, the people being beaten do not have prison clothes on.”

Norouzi also said, “How could it be possible that such behavior takes place in the Islamic Republic?… For what reason should prisoners be beaten?”

Norouzi also claimed that the publication of videos from Evin prison were propaganda efforts to “divert attention from the notorious prisons of the U.S. in Afghanistan and America’s recent defeats in the region.”

This is while last week, the head of the Prisons Organization explicitly confirmed the authenticity of the videos.

In a Twitter post, Haj-Mohammadi said, “Regarding the footage of Evin Prison, I claim responsibility for this unacceptable behavior and, while pledging to avoid the repeat of such bitter incidents and serious repercussions with the violators, I apologize to God, our dear leader, the great people, and the noble prison guards whose efforts will not be eclipsed by these errors.”

It is not clear whether Haj-Mohammadi’s apology to regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei is because of the content of the videos or the fact that they were leaked. It also isn’t clear whether “avoid the repeat of such bitter incidents” is a reference to the beating of prisoners, which is a known fact in the regime’s prisons, or to the hacking of the video cameras.

Even the Iranian regime’s judiciary chief Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei implicitly confirmed the videos on August 24 and demanded judiciary authorities to investigate the matter.

It is worth noting that although heart-rending, the videos do not show everything that is going on in Evin Prison. They do not show footage from the wards of political prisoners, who are in much worse conditions that other prisoners.

Accounts given by prisoners who spent time in Evin prison in different periods pertain to physical torture, deprivation of food and medicine, lack of basic hygiene, lack of access to family and lawyers. Evin’s prison guards are notoriously renowned for torturing prisoners to death. Earlier this year, political prisoner Behnam Mahjoubi was killed under torture in Evin prison. Evin was also one of the main venues of the 1988 massacre, a crime against humanity in which the Iranian regime executed more than 30,000 political prisoners in the span of a few months.

It is also worth reminding that Evin is just one of many prisons where inmates are subjected to brutal conditions. The regime also has many unchartered safe houses, where prisoners are brutally tortured and often killed without anyone finding out about them.

After the videos surfaced, human rights organizations and activists reiterated calls to hold the regime to account for its human rights abuses.

“This disturbing footage offers a rare glimpse of the cruelty regularly meted out to prisoners in Iran. It is shocking to see what goes on inside the walls of Evin prison, but sadly the abuse depicted in these leaked video clips is just the tip of the iceberg of Iran’s torture epidemic,” said Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director at Amnesty International.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), urged the

United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteurs, and the international human rights organizations to take immediate action to visit the Iranian regime’s prisons and prisoners, especially political prisoners.

“The dossier of flagrant and systematic violations of human rights in Iran, particularly the dossier on the regime’s behavior in prisons, must be referred to the UN Security Council,” Mrs. Rajavi said.

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