Mahmoud el-Banna - Facebook
CAIRO - 20 October 2019: Four teenagers stood trial on Sunday in the first court hearing over the murder of the 18-yr teenager Mahmoud el-Banna earlier this month.
The trial comes 11 days after the accident that took place in Menoufia governorate. The killing of El-Banna sent shocking waves across the country, with rising calls for the execution of the murderers of the “Martyr of Chivalry.” The social media gave the victim the title as the death ensued after his interference to defend a girl who was sexually harassed by the accused teens. One of the defendants identified as Mohamed Rageh, 17yrs started a fight with El-Banna, and stabbed him to death in the street.
Father of victim El-Banna attending the trial of his son's murderers - Egypt Today
The case is held in a juvenile court as the defendants are all minors; however, El-Banna's lawyer requested access to governmental documents showing the defendants' ages, as he suspected Rageh’s family are faking their son's age to maintain his trial per child law. The defendants in the case face the charge of premeditated murder.
"No accused person shall be sentenced to death, life imprisonment, or forced labor if, at the time of committing the crime, he did not reach the age of eighteen (18) years," read Article 111 of the Child Law of year 2008.
However, Rageh’s family has another challenge, which is to assign another lawyer before the next hearing on Oct. 27, as Rageh’s lawyer Mohamed el-Hossainy recused himself from the case, according to an announcement he made on his Facebook account, justifying his absence in court on Sunday.
A murder turned into public issue
The accident took place when a group of teens harassed a girl in the street in Tala village in Menoufia governorate; the act stirred El-Banna’s anger, pushing him to interfere to defend the girl and condemn the boys. Later, El-Banna felt triggered to make a statement about the incident on his Facebook accout, although he did not mention the boys’ names, describing the sexual harassment acts as “not manly."
Night fell on a different village after Rageh induced El-Banna into a fight, chased him with three other teens, and stabbed him up his left leg leading to his death. A leaked, unverified CCTV video supported the eye-witnesses' testimonies about the incident, as it allegedly showed El-Banna being chased by the other teens near his house.
Social media was moved by pictures of El-Banna, and inundated by mourning posts, and angry users calling to bring perpetrators to justice. Hashtags like: Rageh is a killer, Execute Rageh, and Bring Mahmoud El-Banna’s Right went viral, attracting huge support and sorrow.
Some shared Rageh's picture, calling for his execution over the murder of El-Banna.
Some of El-Banna’s friends and neighbors talked about his decent behavior, and criticized Rageh’s bullying attitude who is known for it in the neighborhood, as they claimed. Some users put the incident in a bigger picture, tracing signs of bad parenting as a main reason behind such violent crimes.
The court on Sunday has seen tight security measures, with cordones installed’; it was reported that many people gathered outside the court in solidarity with El-Banna’s family.