In his absence, 4-year-old Ahmed Mansour Karni was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison following a disheartening court ruling in western Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday. The boy was convicted for several charges, including murder.
Karni was about 2 years old at the time the events that led to his conviction unfolded two years ago during the riots and demonstrations of January 3, 2014.
However, his name was on a list of over a hundred people “wanted” for murder, disturbance of the peace and damaging state property in Cairo.
Karni’s birth certificate proves that he was born in September 2012, yet the court indictment proved that the child is guilty of murder – four counts, attempted murder – eight counts, threatening security forces and vandalizing property belonging to the Egyptian Health Administration and vehicles belonging to security forces.
The question is how can a two-year old commit these crimes?
It was reported that before the court ruling, a defense attorney, Faisal al-Saud presented Karni’s birth certificate to the court and told the court that the boy’s name entered the list by mistake, but judging from the recent development, it appears the material was not properly documented and transferred and the presiding judge did not review the case.
In the lawyer’s words,
The child, Ahmed Mansour Karni’s birth certificate was presented after state security forces added his name to the list of accused, but then the case was transferred to the military court and the child was sentenced in absentia in an ensuing court hearing.
Egyptians reacted to the court ruling by taking to the social media to abuse the government and its dysfunctional legal system, accusing them of corruption and injustice.
Egyptian lawyer, Mohammed Abu Huraira expressed anger over the ruling saying that the court decisions can’t be appealed:
On the eve of injustice and madness in Egypt, a four-year old child was sentenced to life imprisonment. He is accused of disturbance, damage to property and murder. The Egyptian scales of justice are not reversible. There is no justice in Egypt. No reason. Logic committed suicide a while ago. Egypt went crazy. Egypt is ruled by a bunch of lunatics.
Amnesty International says the Egyptian judicial system is deeply flawed. It is common for courts around Egypt to give children a life or even death sentences which means Mansour Karni is not the first child to receive such an unfair and unjust judgement.
This contradicts both international and Egyptian law.
Judges fail to follow due judicial processes, like in the case of little Ahmed Mansour Karni where some trials proceeding were done in the absence of the defendant and their lawyers.