Egypt: a four-year-old child in court

Egyptian social networks have recently echoed a story as incredible as it is true: a four-year-old boy who was brought to trial on charges of “aggression” against a three-year-old girl.

An unprecedented case in the annals of Egyptian justice.

Once again, it was Egyptian social networks that revealed the case and thus capped the mainstream media. The first tweets and Facebook posts were accusing of sexual harassment. According to the girl’s father, the boy, Mohamad, kissed his daughter, Mirna, on the cheek in the kindergarten of a school in Bheira province, north-west of the Delta.

A second version spoke of aggression, the boy would have hit the girl. The fact remains that the father complained to the police station who transferred the case to the public prosecutor’s office who referred the boy to the correctional court. The latter declared himself incompetent and “handed over the baby” to the juvenile court. When the judge saw the age of the accused, he told his father to go home but still withdrew the case for trial at the end of May 2018.

Viral stupefaction

The majority of Internet users were divided between disbelief and dismay, especially since the Children’s Act of 2014 stipulates that a child cannot be brought to court before the age of seven. The most common qualifiers are “madness” or “delirium” in a court system that brings an infant child to court.

“Why did the prosecutor not classify the case?” Asked users. “No wonder in a country that judges children for contempt of religion or undermining the security of the state,” say other users of social networks.

Egyptian justice enforces the law, according to some

However, there are Internet users who defend the system. They are unconditional supporters of power or Islamists. For the former, the police, the prosecution and the court have done their duty according to the law and if there is anyone to blame, it is the father of the girl.

Islamist side, it is unacceptable that a boy kisses a girl, even on the cheek. Some even go after the government, which allows the existence of mixed kindergartens. One surfer ironically concludes that the case of Mohamad and Mirna could one day inspire a new version, the Egyptian, of Romeo and Juliet.

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