Tapandegan (Palpitations), an Iranian “hacktivist” group, released Sunday video images from security cameras in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where many political prisoners are held. Tapandegan said the images had been acquired by hackers called Edalat-e Ali (Ali’s Justice) and were being circulated to draw attention to human rights violations, particularly against political prisoners.
In a statement sent to the media, Tapandegan said the images proved the depth of the violence and injustice against political prisoners. The group said they were also in possession of videos from the prison control room, wards and cells as well as political prisoners’ files and classified prison documents.
One of the videos shows a older prisoner in a mask who passes out, falls to the ground and is then dragged up stairs and taken into a ward, while others including a cleric pass by without objecting.
In its statement Tapandegan said Edalat-e Ali hackers were probably protesting against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s “appointment of Ebrahim Raisi to presidency,” referring to arguments that Khamenei and the election watchdog Guardian Council did not include candidates in the June 18 presidential election who they thought might pose a serious challenge to Raisi (Raeesi), who comfortably won the poll. The group pledged further action and “revelations about the injustice against the people by Raisi and the regime.”
Another part of the video with the prisoner shows a monitoring room and an officer as the group’s protest messages appear on several screens. Officers are shown investigating as one takes photos of the screens and the hackers’ messages calling Evin a “black mark” on Raisi’s image and promising protests until political prisoners are freed. Hojjat Fadaei, an internet security expert, told Iran International TV Sunday that these images revealed the hackers had accessed data of a “very large” scope.
There is no previous record of Edalat-e Ali hackers, whose name refers to the ‘founder’ of Shia Islam, but Tapandegan has claimed responsibility for hacking several Iranian government bodies in the past three years. In their debut action in May 2018, the group hacked into systems at Mashhad international airport and posted anti-government messages and images on arrival and departure information screens. Airport authorities shut down the screens for several hours, but images were posted on social media showing slogans denouncing the Revolutionary Guards’ “wasting Iranians lives and financial resources in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria”. Tapandegan made a similar attack on Tabriz airport a month later.
The group claimed in July 2018 to have hacked the email accounts of Tehran municipality officials, and the email accounts of officials of state broadcaster (IRIB) in January 2019. It also claimed an attack on the computing systems of Mashhad airport in April 2019. Iran’s Cyber-Police Chief Kamal Hadianfar in October 2018 claimed the hackers behind the first airport attack had been arrested.