Tora Prison

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Tora Prison
سجن طرة
Tora Jail.jpg
LocationTora, Egypt
Security classSupermax, Maximum Security, General, Light
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]


Tora Agricultural Prison was established in 1908 by Mustafa el-Nahhas while he was the interior minister, in an effort to ease overcrowding at Abu Zaabal Prison.


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.).[2]

In 2014 a maximum security wing was built to hold political prisoners, whose numbers had started increasing since 2013,[3] the year during which the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état occurred.


Welcome parades, a technique used in Egyptian prisons in which new prisoners are physically and psychologically abused while crawling between two lines of policemen,[4] 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.[3][5]

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[citation needed] operated in this capacity since 1995/96 (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.[6]

Notable inmates[edit]


External links[edit]


  1. ^ Middle East Watch (Organization) (1993). Prison Conditions in Egypt. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 9781564320902.
  2. ^ Wright, Lawrence (2008-05-23). "The Rebellion Within". ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Nawaz, Maajid (2016-05-08). "The Secret Life of Sadiq Khan, London's First Muslim Mayor". Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  8. ^ Trafford, Robert (October 28, 2015). "Shawkan: top Egyptian news photographer in prison for over 800 days without trial". The Independent.
  9. ^ "Egyptian photojournalist at risk of death penalty". Amnesty International. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  10. ^ Mohamed Soltan
  11. ^
  12. ^ "freesoltan". freesoltan. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "Detention Review Panel". Detention Review Panel. Retrieved 2019-07-03.

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