Tora Prison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tora Prison
سجن طرة
Tora Jail.jpg
LocationTora, Egypt
StatusOperational
Security classSupermax, Maximum Security, General, Light
Opened1908
Managed byMinistry of Interior

Tora Prison (Arabic: سجن طرةSegn Tora; Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [seɡn tˤurˤɑ]) is an Egyptian prison complex for "criminal" and political detainees, located in Tora, Egypt. The complex is situated in front of the Tora El Balad metro station. The main buildings in the Tora Prison complex are Tora Agricultural Prison, Tora Liman (maximum security), Tora Istiqbal (reception), Tora El Mahkoum and Tora Supermax prison, also known as Scorpion Prison (Arabic: سجن العقربSegn El ʿAqrab).[1]

History[edit]

Tora Agricultural Prison was established in 1928 by Wafdist Interior Minister Mostafa El-Nahas while he was the interior minister,[2] in an effort to ease overcrowding at Abu Zaabal Prison.[3]

Architecture[edit]

Tora prison consists of seven blocks each holding approximately 350 prisoners, and are divided into sections such as political prisoners and criminals according to the severity of their crimes. There is a block for police officers and judges imprisoned on bribery charges, and a disciplinary block consisting of seven solitary confinement cells, two meters squared in size and some without light or ventilation. The prison walls are seven metres tall and are monitored by CCTV. The different sections of the prison are walled off from each other. After three prisoners from the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization implicated in the assassination of Anwar Sadat escaped in 1988, 2.5 meters were added to walls. Tora Prison has a small hospital overlooking a garden which is the block where businessmen and members of the Mubarak regime are held for corruption cases. The hospital is next to a football pitch and to a tennis court where the prisoners exercise. The prison has held some of Egypt's most high-profile prisoners. Some cells for long-term inmates are reminiscent of typical, if cramped, apartments (i.e. including a kitchenette, etc.).[4]

In 2014, a maximum security wing was built to hold political prisoners, whose numbers had started increasing since the July 2013 removal of Mohamed Morsi from office.[5]

Torture[edit]

Welcome parades, a technique used in Egyptian prisons in which new prisoners are physically and psychologically abused while crawling between two lines of policemen,[6] was used in Tora Prison in September 2019 during the 2019 Egyptian protests, when blogger Alaa Abd el-Fattah and his lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer of the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms were subjected to welcome parades following their 29 September arrests.[5][7]

There have been allegations that the prison was used for other forms of torture and that there was Mukhabarat (Egyptian intelligence services) complicity with CIA extraordinary rendition practices during the Mubarak presidency. Tora Prison may have operated in this capacity since 1995/96[citation needed] (being the most accessible of the few liman, i.e. maximum security prisons), making it one of the first of the black sites of George W. Bush's War on Terror.[8]

In December 2020, a detailed report by the Human Rights Watch highlighted the extensive changes introduced by the Egyptian authorities inside the Scorpion Prison of the Tora Prison complex. As part of collectively punishing nearly 800 to 900 prisoners, each cell of the Scorpion Prison’s four H-shaped building were modified to block all sources of ventilation, light and electricity from the cells. The report based on a three-page letter and a 13-minute video smuggled out of the prison, and three sources, including a lawyer, explained how the restrictions were further severed to torture the political prisoners inside these cells.[9]

Notable inmates[edit]

Unconfirmed:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Middle East Watch (Organization) (1993). Prison Conditions in Egypt. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 9781564320902.
  2. ^ Ghoneim, Haitham (2015-12-20). "The graveyard: An inside look into Scorpion Prison". Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  3. ^ "Egypt's interior ministry sends medical mission to Tora Prison". 2015-12-15. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  4. ^ Wright, Lawrence (2008-05-23). "The Rebellion Within". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  5. ^ a b c "Alaa Abd El Fattah and his lawyer recount humiliation and beatings in maximum-security prison". Mada Masr. 2019-10-10. Archived from the original on 2019-10-10. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  6. ^ El-Fattah, Alaa Abd (2019-09-23). "A personal introduction to viciousness in enmity". Mada Masr. Archived from the original on 2019-10-10. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  7. ^ "Egypt: Torture of activist Alaa Abdel Fattah illustrates use of extreme brutality to crush dissent". Amnesty International. 2019-10-10. Archived from the original on 2019-10-10. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  8. ^ Mayer, Jane (2005-02-14). "Outsourcing Torture: The secret history of America's 'extraordinary rendition' program". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 2019-09-14. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
  9. ^ "Egypt: Collective Punishment in Scorpion Prison". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  10. ^ Nawaz, Maajid (2016-05-08). "The Secret Life of Sadiq Khan, London's First Muslim Mayor". Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  11. ^ Alandete, David (August 22, 2013). "El exdictador egipcio Hosni Mubarak sale de la prisión de Tora" – via elpais.com.
  12. ^ Trafford, Robert (October 28, 2015). "Shawkan: top Egyptian news photographer in prison for over 800 days without trial". The Independent.
  13. ^ "Egyptian photojournalist at risk of death penalty". Amnesty International. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  14. ^ "freesoltan". freesoltan. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  15. ^ "Glyphosate : le débat empoisonné / Luxor…l'enquête bâclée / Chacun sa croix / Une bonne assiette d'insectes - Vidéo". Play RTS (in French). Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  16. ^ "Detention Review Panel". Detention Review Panel. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  17. ^ "UN calls for 'prompt and thorough' probe into Morsi's death". www.aljazeera.com.
  18. ^ Elsayed Gamal Eldeen (2013-12-21). "Senior Morsi aides transferred to Cairo prison charges yet to be filed". Ahram English. Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  19. ^ "Jailed Brotherhood spokesman disciplined for New York Times article". Middle East Monitor. February 28, 2017.
  20. ^ "Egypt: End Gehad el-Haddad's solitary confinement and denial of medical care". Amnesty International Canada. May 28, 2018.
  21. ^ "Gehad transferred to Scorpion Prison". FreeHaddad.org. August 19, 2020.
  22. ^ "Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad held in Egypt". BBC News. September 17, 2013.
  23. ^ Abdel Kouddous, Sherif. "Canadian journalist held in notorious Egypt jail in crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood". Toronto Star.
  24. ^ "Mohamed Fahmy, Canadian journalist, pardoned by Egyptian president". CBC.
  25. ^ "Stephen Harper, Khaled Al-Qazzaz needs your help". Toronto Star. July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  26. ^ Amnesty International (April 2, 2018). "Egyptian defenders and journalists deteined" (PDF). Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  27. ^ "European Parliament resolution on the deteriorating situation of human rights in Egypt". Europarl portal. December 16, 2020.
  28. ^ Michaelson, Ruth (2 May 2020). "Egyptian film-maker who worked on video mocking president dies in jail". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-05-03 – via www.theguardian.com.
  29. ^ "Egypt: Shady Habash, filmmaker who mocked el-Sisi, dies in prison". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  30. ^ Staff, The New Arab. "US-based Egyptian filmmaker detained in Egypt in 'outrageous' crackdown on artistic freedom". alaraby. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  31. ^ "Mustafa Ali Hassanien, Student at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, Arrested in Egypt, Accused of Membership in Terrorist Organization, Spreading False News and Disturbing Public Security". Committee of Concerned Scientists. 2020-11-10. Retrieved 2020-11-19.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°57′06″N 31°16′42″E / 29.95167°N 31.27833°E / 29.95167; 31.27833