Four-year-old sentenced to life in Egypt for ‘mistaken identity’

Cairo, Feb 23 (IANS) Following a public outcry, Egyptian authorities have admitted that a military court “mistakenly” sentenced a four-year-old child to life in prison for “committing murder” when he was only one-year-old.

The little boy, Ahmed Mansour Korani, was convicted in absentia of four counts of murder, eight of attempted murder, vandalising property, disturbance of peace and threatening police officers.

His father who recently appeared on an Egyptian channel to recount his ordeal, after he had been remanded in custody for four months of pending investigations.

During the interview, the father held tight his four-year-old boy as he cried injustice. He appeared frightened as he appealed to the authorities to not take his son from him.

“I’m a poor helpless man, the son of this land and I intend no harm to anyone but I have nothing to do with it,” the father cried. “I do not want anyone to take my son from me.”

Lawyer Mahmoud Abu Kaf, who was part of Korani’s defence team, told Al Arabiya news that they submitted the child’s birth certificate to the prosecution as evidence of his young age, but it was not considered by the judges.

“The moment they reached his home, the officers asked for Korani but his father told them the suspect you’re looking for is a baby. The officer thought the father was poking fun at him and dragged the father to jail, keeping him in custody for four months of pending investigations. He was later released when the judge realised he was innocent.”

The father’s appearance on TV sparked uproar among social media users, prompting a military spokesman the next day to confirm that an “error” has occurred, and that the little boy’s name was wrongfully included among a list of defendants who were all given life sentence at a military court in Cairo.

The list includes 116 defendants accused of crimes committed in January 2014 in the province of Fayoum, 70 km south of Cairo.

It remains unclear if the “mistake” will be fixed and how the rest of the trial will turn in favour of the child.

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