TEHRAN: Iran is investigating claims that guards at Evin Prison beat inmates during a routine inspection last month, one of the country’s vice presidents said Wednesday.
The April 17 incident inside the jail’s Section 350, which holds political prisoners, prompted relatives of inmates to protest outside the presidency.
It also triggered reports from international rights monitors that abuses were committed by staff at the notorious prison in north Tehran.
Vice President Mohammad Baqer Nobakht announced a government inquiry was under way.
“The justice and intelligence ministries will prepare a report about the incident at Evin,” he told ISNA news agency.
“We are waiting to receive that report and people will be informed about it.”
According to opposition websites, several Section 350 inmates were beaten after scuffles broke out at a cell block, with some of them seriously hurt and taken to hospital.
Iranian officials dismissed the accounts as inaccurate and said it was the prisoners who resisted an inspection and started a fight with the guards.
Amnesty International reported last month that 100 guards dressed in riot gear had entered Section 350, purportedly to conduct a search.
According to the rights monitor, at least four badly injured prisoners were transferred to an outside hospital, while another 26 inmates were hurt.
But Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi denied wrongdoing at the jail and said “only one or two prisoners suffered minor injuries” after inmates resisted the search.