Ziad Qanawi has 14 charges against him, including the reckless driving charge, along with resisting arrest and robbery, all at the age of three. It is hard for anyone to believe this is happening. Each time the child attends court, he has to be carried in his lawyer’s arms. Mahmoud El Shenawy, who is representing the child, calls the situation an “absolute catastrophe.” According to the lawyer, all the charges are fabricated and are outside of any other country’s legal confines. He told the International Business Times that he cannot believe they have to go through all this.

Endless court trials continue in Egypt for a toddler

Reportedly young Ziad has been cleared in three cases, but there are still 14 cases outstanding, all basically on the same fabricated charges. Shenawy heads from one Egyptian court to the next with Ziad, gradually convincing the judges involved of the child’s innocence. Reportedly his next appearance in court is coming up in late September. Each time they walk into the court and the judge presiding asks for the defendant, only to think Shenawy is joking when he presents the three-year-old boy. Every time they head to court, the lawyer hands over the child’s birth certificate to the judge to prove his age.

Shady legal dealings in Cairo, Egypt

The background of the story is that a high-ranking government official involved in quarry administration has been issuing the warrants against the child over a dispute with Ziad’s father, who works as a construction contractor. Under an Egyptian law dating back to 1978, the official alleges that the three-year-old stole building materials from various construction sites around the city.

Along the way, the same government official has stated that Ziad was driving negligently and was endangering the lives of the public. It turns out the truck the toddler is alleged to have been driving is registered in Ziad’s name, under his father’s guarantee. The child’s father, Hassan Qanawi, only found out about the charges after his son was placed on a no-fly list for his alleged convictions, after they were stopped from traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj in July this year.

The case of the “The Baby Bottle Boy”

Calling it a “tragic-comic farce situation," Shenawi said the whole thing gets more absurd by the day and that it has been caused by just the latest blunder of a highly-politicized judiciary. Reportedly sinceMohammed Morsi was ousted back in July 2013 – the year of Ziad’s birth – there have been thousands of citizens given the death penalty on what the human rights groups call unfair trials on trumped-up charges. He went on to explain that in February 2016, a four-year-old was convicted of multiple murders in an Egyptian military court.

CNN reported that officials eventually admitted that that was a case of mistaken identity but this is just one of many other similar cases.

Reportedly Egypt has been ranked in the bottom 20 countries by the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index on how badly the country’s courts function. However, for Qanawi’s family, other concerns don’t matter – they are worried about young Ziad, who has been dubbed “The Baby Bottle Boy” by the local media. Despite the fact that several judges have thrown the case out of court, Shenawy is worried that Ziad’s chances in life will be jeopardized, even after his name is cleared in each case. He said they have destroyed his future, “while the pacifier is still in his mouth.” Shenawy has appeared on several talk shows in Egypt with young Ziad, to show just how crazy the legal system is in that country.