09/02/2021 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Last week, security camera footage from Iran’s notorious Evin Prison was leaked to the public after being obtained by a hacker group called “Ali’s Justice.” The videos depict what many organizations have believed to be happening in the prison for years: flagrant abuses of human rights including degrading living conditions and beatings of prisoners. These recent videos prompt questions among the human rights community regarding whether the United States is doing everything in its power to curb the abuses of the Iranian regime.
Evin Prison, sometimes referred to as Iran’s “Torture Factory,” largely houses prisoners of conscience and political dissidents, many of whom are there on account of their Christian faith. According to previous research compiled by ICC, Iran sends 60 percent of arrested Christians to Evin Prison, where they must endure torture and overcrowding. Former prisoners have reported that guards commonly use torturous methods to illicit confessions of church activities, sometimes even covering up deaths from torture as suicides.
In 2019, ICC requested that the U.S. Department of Treasury issue Global Magnitsky sanctions against the prison, along with three Iranian judges, for grave violations of human rights. The recently uncovered video of the prison gives more evidence than ever before regarding the crimes being committed within the confines of the Iranian justice system. Although the U.S. government responded to ICC’s request and sanctioned one of the judges, ICC received no correspondence regarding the other two nor the prison.
The U.S. State Department has not released a statement regarding the newly released videos of the human rights abuses in the prison. If the Biden administration truly wants to push back against Iranian influence in the Middle East, many advocates believe that it needs to then continually and unequivocally take concrete measures to put an end to abuses like those happening every day in Evin Prison.
“We reiterate our call to the United States government to continue using its power to stop the human rights violations at Evin Prison,” said Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy at ICC. “The Global Magnitsky Act is meant to be another tool for the executive branch to punish violators of human rights like Evin Prison, especially now with video evidence of these abuses. The U.S. needs to take this step immediately for the Iranian Christians currently suffering under the horrid conditions of the prison.”
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