Egyptian officials claim mistaken identity after 3-year-old boy sentenced to life for murder

By @chelean on
Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi gestures after his trial behind bars at a court in the outskirts of Cairo, April 21, 2015.
Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi gestures after his trial behind bars at a court in the outskirts of Cairo, April 21, 2015. Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

In an admission that surprised no one, Egyptian authorities acknowledged it was only a case of mistaken identity when they sentenced a 3-year-old boy to life imprisonment. Ahmed Mansour Qorany Sharara was accused of “killing three people and sabotaging public and private property” when he was just a year old.

Ahmed and 115 other people apparently participated in a political demonstration in support of former President Mohamed Morsy that led to the death of three people and the destruction of properties in January 2014. He was only 16 months old at that time.

When authorities came to arrest him and saw that he was just a toddler, they arrested his father, Mansour Qorany Sharara, instead and detained him for four months. Sharara then spent nearly 18 months on the run to evade authorities who wanted to arrest his son.

In an even more baffling outcome, Ahmed, along with the other defendants, was handed a guilty verdict on Feb. 16. The ruling provoked public outrage, which prompted military’s admission of mistake.

Sharara appeared with Ahmed in a local television news program in Cairo to plead for help, CNN reports.

“How could people trust justice if they see this?” presenter Wael Elebrashy asked the viewers on Saturday as Sharara began to cry over worry that the military would arrest his son.

An aide of Interior Minister Gen. Abu Bakr Abdel Karim phoned the show to admit Ahmed was confused for another suspect. The father and son were promised to be spared from jail.

The military also released a statement the following day to admit it was a case of mistaken identity, and that authorities were looking for a 16-year-old who had the same name as Ahmed. The real suspect had fled authorities.

Despite assurances that the little boy and his father would not be arrested, the family still fear for their freedom. Ahmed’s mother, Hemat Mostafa, phoned Elebrashy’s show during Sharara’s interview to say that police had just left their home to inquire about the father and son.

“If it is true that it was a mistaken identity, why did they come to arrest the boy? Why haven’t security arrested the right defendant then?” lawyer Mahmoud Abu Kaf told CNN.

The lawyer said the authorities submitted the names of the defendants who allegedly participated in the pro-Morsy protest 24 hours after the incident.