CAIRO, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Two Egyptian teenagers have been sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Cairo court after being convicted of raping and killing a child, officials said.
Egypt's Juvenile Criminal Court sentenced the defendants, aged 17 and 16, on Sunday, Gulf News reported.
The defendants admitted during police questioning that the took the victim, a 5-year-old girl, from her apartment in the Suez Canal city of Port Saeed, brought her to the roof, and raped her before throwing her off the 11-story building. One of the defendants was a neighbor of the victim and the other was the son of the building's doorman.
The case sparked demonstrations in Port Saeed and other Egyptian cities, including Cairo, with protesters calling for the suspects to be sentenced to death.
"The court believes that the two defendants, who are human predators, should receive the toughest penalty for their crime, which is the death penalty," presiding judge Ahmad Hamdi said in court. "But the court is very sorry because the Child Law includes no tougher penalty than the sentence already issued by the court. The court stands helpless before this legal constraint."
Upon the ruling being announced, the victim's mother, Shaimaa Gazzal, said the punishment was too lenient.
"This ruling comes as a capital punishment for my family," Gazzal said in TV remarks. "I saw the accused flashing the victory sign and sticking out their tongues in joy after the verdict."
"I don't question the integrity of the Egyptian judiciary. The judge did his job. The problem lies with the obsolete law. I demand these laws to be changed in order to protect the rest of my children and those of all Egyptians from the crimes of the juveniles whom the law still treats as children," Gazzal said.