LONDON – A British judge on Monday sentenced a woman he called a "devoted and loving mother" to at least 17 years in prison for beating her son to death after he failed to memorize passages from the Koran.
A jury at Cardiff Crown Court in Wales convicted 33-year-old Sara Ege last month of murdering 7-year-old Yaseen and burning his body to destroy the evidence.
Judge Wyn Williams said Ege beat Yaseen repeatedly with a stick over several months, causing internal injuries.
He said that, on the day he died in 2010, Yaseen had been kept home from school to memorize verses from the Muslim holy book, and that his failure "was the trigger for the beating" that killed him.
The judge agreed with defense arguments about India-born Ege's state of mind, saying she was "a devoted and loving mother" who suffered from depression and had been a victim of domestic violence.
Still, he said, she subjected her son to "prolonged cruelty."
Ege admitted killing her son in a confession taped by police, but later retracted it and blamed her husband, Yousef. He was tried and acquitted on a charge of failing to prevent his son's death.
Ege sobbed as the judge passed sentence. Williams said the 2 1/2 years she had spent in secure psychiatric units since her arrest would count toward her 17-year minimum sentence.