Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Mistaken identity: Four year old sentenced to life in prison in Egypt

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Ahmed Mansour Qurani Ali is a goon.


In a series of riots in 2014, he killed four people, nearly killed eight more and vandalized government property. Those are the acts he was convicted of by an Egyptian military court last week, which sentenced him to life in prison.


But there's a problem: Ali is 4 years old. The Egyptian military now says his conviction and sentencing  was a mistake, according to the BBC.


Ali was convicted of those terrible acts alongside 115 others in reference to riots carried out in 2014 by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. The child's lawyer told the BBC that Ali's addition to the list of suspects was the result of a mistake made when officials neglected to pass his birth certificate along to a judge.


That mistake was confirmed by an Army colonel in a Facebook post. The convictions, he said, were meant for someone who shares Ali's first three names: 16-year-old Ahmed Mansour Qurani Sharara.


Critics have accused Egypt of cracking down on dissent since the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. That crackdown has since extended to civil society groups, as The Washington Post's Erin Cunningham reported last May, and "artists, activists and intellectuals," Cunningham reported earlier this month.


Over the summer, Secretary of State John F. Kerry urged Egyptian authorities to better target their campaign against anti-government militants.


“It is important to distinguish between those who use violence to achieve their ends and others who seek peacefully to participate in a political dialogue, even if what they say may sometimes make people uncomfortable,” Kerry said at the time.

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