CAIRO: The conviction of a youth found guilty of murdering a three-year-old boy and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment has been quashed.
Ramy Ibrahim was 17 at the time the Tama El-Amadeed Criminal Court handed down the sentence in April last year. In total, Ibrahim spent almost 18 months in prison for the crime that the Mansoura Appeals Court last week on Dec. 30, 2009 decided he did not commit.
Throughout the investigation, Ibrahim’s family and lawyers from the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Violence had protested his innocence and called for an investigation into the torture allegedly used in order to extract Ibrahim’s confession.
A statement issued by the Nadeem Center in July 2008 provides background to the case.
Three-year-old Ahmed Ramadan went missing on May 21, 2008. His body was subsequently discovered the same day near a canal in Tama El-Amadeed. He had been raped and stabbed.
Between 8:30 am and 11:30 am on the same day Ibrahim was sitting an exam – making it impossible for him to have committed the crime. His school corroborated this alibi during public prosecution office investigations.
Ibrahim was part of a group of 25 school pupils rounded up by the police and held for four days. All were released except for Ibrahim.
On May 25, 2008 police officer Ahmed Salim from the Tama El-Amadeed police station told Ibrahim’s mother to go and see her son, who was being held in police custody. She remained in the police station from Wednesday afternoon until the next day. It subsequently emerged that Ibrahim was shown his mother sitting in the police station and threatened that she would be raped if he did not confess.
This followed other abuse Ibrahim allegedly suffered while in police custody. He told his mother that he was beaten, hung by his arms from a door in the police station and electrocuted. The electric shocks he says he received caused the nails on his little fingers to fall off.
On one occasion Ibrahim’s mother says that she and others were outside the police station when they heard Ibrahim screaming. When they tried to enter the station, police officers “wrapped [Ibrahim] in a blanket, blindfolded him and took him to another police station Ibrahim’s mother is quoted as saying.
Ibrahim was taken to the public prosecution office at 3 am on May 29, 2008, where he signed a confession.
“The next day me and a lawyer filed another request that the public prosecution office open an investigation, hear witness statements, send my son for forensic examination and accept a document confirming that my son was sitting an exam [at the time of the murder]. The district attorney Abdel Hamid Qadry, refused, Ibrahim’s mother is quoted as saying in a Nadeem statement.
“He refused all our requests and refused to accept any documents from us, she continues.
Ibrahim’s mother also alleges that the forensic report on the murdered child was withheld from defense lawyers by public prosecution officials who deliberately classified it wrongly.
The only witness produced by the prosecution subsequently revealed that his testimony had been entirely fabricated by police officer Ahmed Salim.
“There exist a number of cases in which fabricated charges have been leveled against innocent people who have been tortured in order to extract false confessions, the Nadeem Center says in a statement issued yesterday.
Nadeem is also calling for the prosecution of individuals involved in Ibrahim’s torture.