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This report, based on 23 interviews with relatives of inmates, lawyers, and a former prisoner, documents abusive conditions in Scorpion.Authorities there have banned inmates from contacting their families or lawyers for months at a time, held them in degrading conditions without beds, mattresses, or basic hygienic items, humiliated, beaten, and confined them for weeks in cramped “discipline” cells – treatment that probably amounted to torture in some cases – and interfered with their medical care in ways that may have contributed to some of their deaths.The government itself has admitted to making nearly 34,000 arrests.
At least six Scorpion inmates died in custody during or soon after this lockdown period (see below).
Inmates are not allowed to give interviews or communicate with people outside in any way.
On rare occasions during court hearings, they are allowed to speak briefly in the presence of the media.
According to the semi-official National Council for Human Rights, prisons operated at 150 percent of their capacity in 2015.
Over the two years that followed Morsy’s fall, the Egyptian government built or made plans to build eight new prisons. Built in 1993 and officially named Tora Maximum Security Prison, its reputation had long ago earned it a different moniker: the Scorpion.
While the Egyptian authorities generally try to prevent unsanctioned information about prisons from reaching the public, they go to even greater lengths at Scorpion.