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Toddler accidentally sentenced to life in prison; family's life turned upside down

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Officials in Egypt have called off the arrest of a toddler after claims of mistaken identity (KTRK)

A 3-year-old boy is apparently off the hook after being sentenced to life in prison last week.
Authorities are acknowledging it's a case of mistaken identity.

A military court found Ahmed Mansour Sharara - and 115 other people - guilty of killing three people and sabotaging public and private property during a political demonstration in January 2014. At the time, Ahmed was only 16 months old.

The officials' decision is a relief after the boy's father, Mansour Sharara, spent nearly 18 months on the run. He had been avoiding authorities who had previously detained him when they came to arrest his young son.

Authorities have since admitted they got the wrong person, but the ordeal has taken a huge toll on the boy's family.

His father appeared on an Egyptian TV show, begging for the government not to take away his 3-year-old son, who likes telling stories and playing soccer. A spokesman from the Ministry of Interior called into the show, promising neither Ahmed nor his father would be arrested.

The man they say they want is in his 50s. But to add the confusion, the Egyptian army released a statement about the case, claiming Ahmed Mansour Sharara is 16 years old.

The case may sound absurd, but human rights groups are taking it seriously, saying it's yet another example of the deep flaws in Egypt's criminal justice system.

"It's a troubling trend, and it will probably lead to just wide mistrust in the judiciary system, which has long-term effects that will be very difficult to reverse," said Karim Ennarah, criminal justice researcher.

Kareem Anara says the judiciary needs urgent reforms.

"I would go as far as saying it's disintegrating. The justice system is on the verge of complete dysfunctionality," said Ennarah, another researcher.

Related Topics:
u.s. & worldsentencingprisonjail

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