4-year-old sentenced to life in prison for murder was error, Egyptian military says

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The Egyptian military admitted Monday it made a mistake when one of its courts sentenced a 4-year-old boy to life in prison for murder.

The mixup last week was connected to the boy’s name, Ahmed Mansour Qurani Ali, which is similar to a 16-year-old who should have received the sentence, military spokesman Col. Mohammad Samir said, according to the BBC.

Samir wrote in a Facebook post that Ahmed Mansour Qurani Sharara was the real suspect. It is unclear what will happen to the teen.

Ahmed was convicted of four counts of murder and eight counts of attempted murder and sentenced along with more than 115 others in connection with a 2014 pro-Muslim Brother riot targeting military intelligence and health ministry facilities, The Telegraph reports.

The military has not revealed what the next steps will be since it admitted the error.

Lawyers for Mansour Qurani, the young boy’s father, claimed the Western Cairo Military Court refused to consider the 4-year-old’s birth certificate as proof he would have been just a 1-year-old at the time of the riot, and so logically unable to have participated, according to the Egypt Independent.

“I am appealing to all officials to keep my son with me. They won’t take him from me. This is unfair,” Qurani told Dream satellite channel, according to the Egypt Independent.

Qurani was also convicted in connection to the riot and sentenced to 28 years in prison. He claims he was taken into custody for refusing to give his child over to the police.

"Officers knocked on my door and asked to hand over my 4-year-old son. When I refused, they took me to the police station,” Qurani told Dream satellite. He claims he was then remanded for 15 days.

Egypt’s military court system has come under international scrutiny for its secrecy and frequent citizen arrests, but Egyptian authorities have described their actions as essential to the country’s fight against terrorism. More than 40,000 people are believed to have been jailed in the past two years, the BBC adds.