Tora Prison (Egyptian Arabic: سجن طرهSegn 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).
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.).
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.
Ramy Shaath, an outspoken Egyptian-Palestinian human rights defender was released from a two-and-a-half years’ long torturous detention in January 2022. Shaath became an easy target for the Egyptian authorities to arrest following his participation in the infamous 2011 pro-democracy protests in Egypt and his contribution to the foundation of the Egyptian branch of the boycott movement against Israel led by Palestinians. A vocal opponent of the Arab dictatorial system and the Israeli occupation over Palestinians, Shaath was subjected to torture, ill-treatment during his detention, detained in overcrowded prison cells, and forced to renounce his Egyptian citizenship to guarantee his release from the prison, despite wrongful detention.
Hosni Mubarak (2011-2013) incarcerated in April 2011, sentenced for life imprisonment in June 2012, but released in August 2013 after a court found that there were no legal grounds for his continued detention.
Tarek Loubani and John Greyson, two Canadian citizens arrested in the 2013 Egyptian protests and held for 50 days without charges
Mohamed Soltan, human rights activist and civilian journalist, shot during a pro-democracy protest and then arrested without a warrant in his home 10 days later in August 2013. Mohamed is still imprisoned (as of March 28, 2015) in Tora Limon maximum security prison without charge or evidence presented against him. Much of his detention has been spent in solitary confinement, likely a punishment for his international popularity and a hunger strike which he began on January 26, 2014 to protest the inhumane conditions of the prison and the torture and unjustified detention of himself and hundreds of other human rights activists and journalists