The Iranian judiciary says six wardens at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison will stand trial “soon” in connection with leaked videos showing prison guards mistreating inmates that human rights activists said offered a rare glimpse of the cruelty regularly meted out to prisoners in the country.
Four of the guards are soldiers and will be tried in a military court, judiciary spokesperson Sabiollah Chodaian said on August 31, according to the state-run ISNA news agency.
Chodaian said the two other suspects were part of the prison staff and will be tried in a revolutionary court.
The judiciary's official Mizan news agency reported on August 30 that two unidentified people had been arrested and four others placed on parole in connection with the videos.
The moves come after a hacking group calling itself Edalat-e Ali (Ali's Justice) earlier this month shared with RFE/RL's Radio Farda and some other Persian media videos apparently showing guards at Evin prison, a primary site for political detainees, beating prisoners and dragging an inmate on the floor.
The videos, said to be from the prison’s surveillance cameras, prompted the authorities to apologize and launch an investigation.
Amnesty International has said it had analyzed a total of 16 leaked video clips that "offer shocking visual evidence of beatings, sexual harassment, and deliberate neglect and ill-treatment of those in need of medical care."
The videos "also reaffirm concerns around chronic overcrowding and solitary confinement in cruel and inhumane prison conditions," the London-based human rights watchdog said in a statement on August 25.
'Tip Of The Iceberg'
“Sadly the abuse depicted in these leaked video clips is just the tip of the iceberg of Iran’s torture epidemic,” according to Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa regional director at Amnesty International.
Human Rights Watch has said that the hacked videos “confirmed many of the patterns of abusive treatment and violations of due process human rights groups have documented for decades,” including the “systematic due process and torture violations” in prisoners.
Iranian officials have consistently dismissed criticism over the alleged ill-treatment of inmates at Evin prison in northern Tehran, and Chodaian said on August 31 that “the misconduct of several conscripts or employees of the Prisons Organization should not be attributed to “all the hard-working employees” of the organization.
In a rare admission of abuse by the authorities, the head of the country's prisons, Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi, has apologized for "unacceptable behavior" at the prison, and pledged “to try to prevent any repeat of these bitter events and to deal seriously with the wrongdoers.”