In a bizarre move, a court in western Cairo this week sentenced a four-year-old boy to life in prison on various heinous charges, including murder.
The child, Ahmed Mansour Karni, received the lengthy prison term Tuesday after being convicted in absentia of offenses that allegedly occurred two years ago, when he was a mere two-years-old.
The boy was listed as "wanted" for murder, disturbance of the peace and damaging state property in an indictment that listed 115 other defendants sentenced to life imprisonment.
According to the indictment, the exorbitant charges against the youngster include four counts of murder, eight counts of attempted murder, vandalizing property belonging to the Egyptian Health Administration in his home province of el-Fayoum (located some 70 kilometers southwest of Cairo), threatening soldiers and police officers and damaging vehicles belonging to security forces.
One defense attorney added that he had presented the child's birth certificate to the court, however "it appeared that the court did not transfer the material."
Lawyer Faisal a-Sayd charged that the presiding judge had not reviewed the case.
"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," said the defense attorney.
"This proves that the judge did not read the case," he added.
Another Egyptian lawyer Mohammed Abu Hurira issued a fiery response, writing: "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."
The sentencing also caused a firestorm on social media networks, with users blasting the Egyptian legal system and government of corruption and injustice.
The blogger and wife of Egyptian human rights activist Nibin Melek wrote in a post that the sentencing "was a blind decision."
The court order came less than a year after a blind man in Egypt received a 15-year prison sentence for the shooting of a police officer.