Cairo: The death of a village child after torture by her grandmother has sparked outrage in Egypt and put in focus domestic violence against children in the country.
Jana Mohammad Samir, a five-year-girl, died on Saturday at a hospital in the Nile Delta province of Mansura days after she had been brought there with severe burns.
Jana’s parents divorced about four years ago.
She and her older sister Amani, now aged six, moved along with their blind mother to live at their grandmom’s house under a court ruling in a custody lawsuit.
Three days before her death, Jana had her leg amputated due to wounds allegedly caused by the grandma’s torture.
Her aunt claimed in police investigations that Jana told her that the grandmother had burnt her around the genitalia in order to conceal traces of a sexual assault by her maternal uncle.
The 41-year-old grandma, now in police custody, denied the allegations, but could not explain the cause of the fatal wounds sustained by the child.
Relatives said the woman used to beat her up over involuntary urination.
Thousands attend funeral
Thousands of angry mourners attended Jana’s funeral on Saturday at her Delta village of Busat Karim.
Some of them chanted: “We want Jana’s right and the execution of the grandma.”
The child’s tragic death riveted attention of several night-time TV stations and drew comments from some celebrities.
“Jana died after she had been tortured by a close relative,” said famous actress Sherine Reda. “But how many more Jana are there and we know nothing on them?”Sherine added in a tweet.
She urged the public to report to authorities about suspected torturers of children.
The state National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, meanwhile, demanded the death penalty for culprits in Jana’s death, describing it as a premeditated murder.
“The council is following up investigations and procedures with the public prosecution,” the agency’s chairwoman Azza Ashmawy said in a statement.
The grandma faces life imprisonment or even death if she is convicted of deadly torture, according to legal experts.
Ashmawy said the council is acting to provide protecting for Jana’s older sister, Amani, who was reportedly subjected to torture by her grandma too.
In recent months, several parents, mainly fathers, were convicted in Egypt of killing their children due to family disputes or under drug influence.