Ahmed Mansour Karni, who is not even old enough for elementary school, was convicted in absentia this week in a mass military trial of 116 people in Western Cairo. The very young child was convicted of murder, disturbance of the peace, and damaging state property, stemming from a protest that took place in January 2014.
In full, Karni was charged with four counts of murder, eight counts of attempted murder, vandalising property belonging to the Egyptian Health Administration, threatening soldiers and police officers and damaging vehicles belonging to security forces, the Middle East Eye reported.
"There is is no justice in Egypt,” one of his lawyers, Mohammed Abu Hurira, told the Jerusalem Post. “No reason. Logic committed suicide a while ago. Egypt went crazy. Egypt is ruled by a bunch of lunatics.”
Another defense lawyer, Faisal a-Sayd, presented the child’s birth certificate in court, but the judge did not read it. All 116 people were sentenced to the same fate of life in prison.
“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,” a-Sayd told the Jerusalem Post. “This proves that the judge did not read the case.”
Amnesty International reports that Karni is not the first child to be sentenced to life in prison, or even death, in the Egyptian judicial system, violating both Egyptian and international laws.
In December, Amnesty reported on the case of Mazen Mohamed Abdallah, a 14-year-old boy whose family claims he was repeatedly tortured while in custody, including being raped by officers with a wooden stick, and being shocked by electricity to his genitals while officials tried to get him to confess to protesting without authorization.
“That such abuse is meted out against children in detention is utterly deplorable,” Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, said in a statement.