An Egyptian court sentenced on Sunday two minors to 15 years in prison for raping and killing a five-year-old girl, Egyptian media reported.
Considering the gravity of the crime, the verdict aroused outrage among Egyptian activists, who objected to the fact that raping and killing a child now has a lesser punishment than taking part in a political march or a protest.
According to the Egyptian Penal Code, the highest sentence that a minor can receive is 15 years in prison and the law forbids the execution of minors. The court does, however, have the right to decide to place minors into a reformatory.
Egypt’s public prosecutor charged the two minors in November 2013 for raping five-year-old Zeina, and then throwing her through the ventilation window of an 11 story building trying to hide their crime.
As soon as the verdict against the two minors was announced, Egyptian activists compared it with the judiciary’s verdicts against anti-coup protesters, where some youth sentences have exceeded 15 years in prison.
In November 2013, the Alexandria Misdemeanour Court convicted 14 young ladies, including minors, of illegal assembly, being affiliated with an illegal group, spreading ideas for a banned group and owning and distributing fliers for illegal activities. The court issued an 11 year and one month prison sentence against them, causing public outrage. The sentence was later reduced.
In the same context, Al-Jamaliya Misdemeanour Court decided to put 12 university students in prison for 17 years and fined each of them 64,000 Egyptian pounds. They were found guilty of trying to sweep the office of their university administration.
Egyptian activists expressed strong feelings that the Egyptian courts are issuing lighter sentences against violent criminals who really undermine public security in the country.