In the latest developments of a highly controversial case, the Shebin El-Koum District Court has issued its verdict on the culprits behind the killing of Mahmoud Al Banna according to local news outlets.
On Sunday, the court issued a maximum sentence for the main ‘juvenile’ perpetrator, 17-year old Mohamed Rajeh, who was accused of killing 18-year-old student Mahmoud Al Banna for defending a young woman from assault and harassment in Mounfeya.
The crime which specifically relates to the stabbing of Al Banna to death in the city of Tala seemed to have been ruled as intended manslaughter; it was also done in cooperation with three others: Islam Ismail, Mohamed Mustafa and Islam Atef.
Two of these accomplices will also be handed a 15-year sentence while the third accomplice will be expected to only serve a 5-year sentence.
According to videos of the trial court on social media, Al Banna’s father reacted with dismay to the sentence, decrying the injustice of only a ‘15 year-sentence’. On the other hand, Sada El Balad reported an emotional reaction from the accused.
The case has sparked outrage on social media, with many expressing shock at the deliberately premeditated crime of the accused considering his young age.
Many also mourned that Al Banna’s courageous defense was met by a tragic ending.
The victim, Al Banna, had vocally expressed his stance on harassment and his frustrations with Rajeh’s behavior on social media. The defendant sent threatening messages to the victim, and then agreed, with a group of his friends, to kill him mid October in front of a coffee shop.
Rajeh’s laywers, according to local media outlets, had previously revealed that he is to be treated in accordance with juvenile law which translates to a maximum sentence of 15 years for manslaughter.
To condemn the crime committed against Mahmoud El-Banna, the hashtag ‘#راجح_قاتل’ (Rajeh is a killer) topped social media sites to demand for his execution, but this was not likely to take place considering the the defendant’s age.
Speaking up against harassment can be a dangerous decision in Egypt. Earlier this year, an Egyptian man, Sayed Taha, was stabbed to death as he attempted to prevent another man from harassing a woman in a district of southern Cairo.
Last year, a man was also killed at a beach while vacationing in Alexandria, as he attempted to defend his wife from sexual harassment.
While many, namely women, do feel empowered to speak up against sexual harassment, victim blaming culture is rampant in the country.