Toddler in Egypt Receives Life Sentence

Military admits mistaken identity, but parents are still worried
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2016 7:03 AM CST
Toddler in Egypt Receives Life Sentence
Supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi rally in this 2013 file photo.   (AP Photo/Hesham Elkhoshny)

An Egyptian court has handed down a life sentence that would be longer than most if carried out: The alleged criminal is all of 4 years old, max. The strange case involves little Ahmed Mansour Qorany Sharara, reports CNN. A military court this month found him and 115 others guilty of killing three people and damaging state property during a protest in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in 2014. Ahmed would have been 16 months old at the time. After the verdict and the ensuing uproar over Ahmed's fate, the military admitted a case of mistaken identity, reports the BBC. But it adds that Ahmed's fate is unclear, and his parents are worried because police have been inquiring about his whereabouts.

Reports differ, but authorities apparently included the child's name in the case in error, confusing him either with his uncle or a teenager. When police first showed up to arrest him and saw how young he was, they detained his father instead for four months. His dad went on Egyptian TV this week to plead for his son not to be taken from him, reports Egyptian Streets. A military official promised that won't happen, but critics of Egypt's justice system say it's so inept that anything could happen. For example, a defense attorney in the mass trial tried to clear things up by presenting the child's birth certificate, but "it appeared that the court did not transfer the material," reports the Jerusalem Post. (These Egyptian men were jailed over a gay wedding video.)

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