CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced to death two gang leaders who had confessed to the murder and rape of 20 street children, court officials said. Ringleaders Ramadan Abdel Rehim Mansour, known as Al-Tourbini, and Farag Samir Mahmoud, known as Hanata, were convicted and sentenced by the criminal court in Tanta, 90 km north of Cairo.
Al-Turbini, 27, and Hanata, 25, were also found guilty of illegal possession of weapons. In accordance with Egyptian law, the judge referred the verdict to Egypt s grand Mufti for his opinion, which is advisory. It is a legal procedure before a sentence becomes final.
The case has shocked Egypt since it was first revealed by reports in an independent daily last October.
The Tanta court adjourned the case till June 20, when it will rule on five other defendants in the case. By then, it is also expected to have the Mufti s opinion on the death sentences, said court officials, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
The gang leaders are said to have committed their crimes in a period of five years. The two prime suspects admitted to killing 20 street children, although police was able to recover only the remains of eight.
There are no official figures of the number of homeless and street children in Egypt, but estimates range from 200,000 to one million. A quarter of them are believed to be younger than the age of 12.