Tora inmates jeer at former officials during prison transfers

Ousted President Hosni Mubarak's former officials received hostile welcomes from inmates at their new prisons within the Tora compound after being transferred from the main Tora Mazraa Prison, according to local media.

Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim ordered on Sunday that nearly 50 stalwarts of Mubarak's regime held at Tora Mazraa Prison be separated in five different jails within the compound, state TV said.

Inmates in Aqrab (Scorpion) Prison chanted insults against the former officials, who were widely hated by the general public, as they were moved to their new cells, state-owned Al-Akhbar reported Wednesday. Those transferred to Aqrab Prison include former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy, former head of the General Federation of Trade Unions Hussein Megawer and former Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company executive Mahmoud Lateef.

Recent protests called on Egypt’s military rulers to separate Mubarak's aides to prevent communication among them that could affect their trials.

Tora Mazraa was established by the British in 1908 and is reported to have some of the best prison conditions and facilities in Egypt. However, Aqrab is one of the country's most infamous detention centers. Islamists who were convicted of terrorist acts under Mubarak's regime were frequently sent there.

Qanater Prison security was increased as former Information Minister Anas al-Fiqqi and former head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union Osama al-Sheikh were transferred. They were also received with insults and angry chanting upon their arrival, according to Al-Akhbar.

Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal, former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, former Housing Minister Ibrahim Suleiman, and former Agriculture Minster Amin Abaza were transferred to the annex prison attached to Tora Mazraa, a new facility that doesn't have any inmates yet.

The Mubaraks were lucky, according to Al-Akhbar, because they were not subjected to the taunts of other inmates. However, the paper claimed that when they arrived at the annex following a trial session at the Police Academy, the brothers seemed annoyed by the move and the conditions of the facility.

Some former regime officials who are elderly or in bad health were kept in Tora Mazraa, including former Parliament speakers Fathi Sorour and Safwat al-Sherif along with former Prime Minister Atef Ebeid and former Agriculture Minister Youssef Wali. Former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly and his six security aides, who are facing trial alongside the Mubaraks, will also remain in Tora Mazraa.

In the infamous Liman Tora, where dangerous inmates are housed, a solitary confinement cell is being restored and prepared for steel mogul Ahmed Ezz. Al-Akhbar claimed that this was the best solution for Ezz as it would isolate him from the other prisoners.

The paper also reported that upgrades to the prison hospital are underway in preparation for Hosni Mubarak's transfer from the International Medical Center. Since his arrest last April, Mubarak has been held in custody first at a hospital in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh and later at the medical center, a military hospital outside Cairo.

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