An Egyptian boy who murdered a three-year-old girl nearly seven years ago and was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia does not know whether he would get out of jail alive or in a coffin.
But like any other human who would stick to life, Ahmed appears hopeful that he would be out some day not in a coffin. For he still hopes the victim’s family might pardon him - and if this happens, then the death verdict will be annulled and he would be back to life.
In 2004, Ahmed was arrested by police in the eastern town of Dammam for stabbing the three-year-old Egyptian girl, Walaa, 30 times at her house as her mother waited for her on the roof to get a bottle of water. Ahmed, who lived next door, followed the child and murdered her but police had not mentioned motives for the crime.
Ahmed was around 13 years when he committed the murder and is now nearing 20.
During all these years in his cell at the juvenile prison, Ahmed has been counting the moment when the guards will come to his cell to push him either to the gallows or back to life.
When he was first taken to detention, he was locked up a small isolated cell for several months before medical examination showed that he was normal and could mix with the other inmates.
“When I was let out of that room, all inmates then knew that I am peaceful and harmless…I then went on my life and pursued my studies at prison and now I am a secondary class graduate with top marks,” he told the Saudi daily 'Al Watan' from his cell.
“When the court sentenced me to death, I had intended to appeal…but then I surrendered to my fate in the hope that Walaa’s family will eventually pardon me…I very much hope that I will be like their son if they pardon me…I want to repent and correct this terrible sin, which the devil had push me to perpetrate.
“In case God the Almighty steered Walaa’s family to forgive me, the first thing I will do is to perform pilgrimage in Makkah and Madinah…then I will travel back home to Egypt to study chemical engineering and spend the rest of my life there.
“I have lived in this prison as if I will be released the next day…I have learned that there is no despair with life and no life with despair…I have a great hope that I will be saved and will be able to fulfill my dream to become a chemical engineer…but if this does not happen, then I will succumb to my destiny and put my faith in God….it is true that killers must be punished but my hope in life is very strong.”