On August 23, an online account named “Ali’s Justice” sent video footage evidently hacked from the security camera system inside Tehran’s Evin Prison to Radio Farda and the Associated Press. The images include scenes of brutal encounters between prison guards and inmates and show the prison’s surveillance control room the moment the hack was revealed. In one video, Evin Prison warden Hamid Mohammadi takes a picture of a bank of monitors before turning around and staring for a moment into the security camera recording him.
The Associated Press spoke with four former inmates of Evin, as well as an Iranian human rights activist living outside of the country, who confirmed that the videos appear to be from inside the prison in north Tehran. The footage shows prison guards looking at a message that takes over all of their monitors: “Evin Prison is a stain on the black turban and white beard of Raisi! Protests everywhere until all political prisoners are freed.” The message implicitly references the mass murder of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, in which Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s new president, played a decisive role as deputy prosecutor general and member of the four-man “death committee” that ordered the killings at Ayatollah Khomeini’s behest. Many of the mass killings took place within Evin Prison.
The Islamic Republic government and its affiliated institutions had no public reaction during the first 24 hours after news of the hack broke. Eventually, Prisons Organization chief Mohammad-Mehdi Haj-Mohammadi put out a tweet saying that he took responsibility for the unacceptable behavior in Evin Prison, but rather than apologize to the inmates, he apologized to “the dear leader” and “the honorable prison guards.”