Musa Khan is nine months old and out on bail after being charged with attempted murder.
He was fingerprinted and appeared in court in Lahore, Pakistan, last week, according to Reuters. He, his father and grandfather were accused after people threw stones at police and gas-company workers who were trying to collect overdue bills. An assistant sub-inspector said Musa's whole family beat him up, Reuters said, leading to the charges against the child.
Officials seem to have realized the absurdity of the case, ordering an investigation into the charges and suspending a police officer.
Meanwhile, the case is being held up in Pakistan as an embarrassing example of the nation’s shoddy justice system, in which poorly trained police often conduct investigations that are cursory or corrupted by outside influences. Ikram Chaudhry, a prominent lawyer in Pakistan, told The Post’s Shaiq Hussain in Islamabad that police often accept bribes from alleged victims and then charge the accused – and sometimes their whole families, in a sort of collective punishment – without carrying out a thorough investigation. This appears to have been the situation that landed Musa in court, he said.
“This is … due to the inefficient and corrupt police, which often resort to such stupid acts in the name of the law,” Chaudhry said, adding that the Pakistani penal code says children under age 7 cannot be charged with criminal offenses. “But why that happened in the case of a 9-month-old baby, that’s because of rampant corruption in the country, in police and other departments.”
Musa's grandfather, Muhammad Yasin, addressed journalists at court last Thursday. "He does not even know how to pick up his milk bottle properly, how can he stone the police?" Yasin said of Musa, Reuters said.
Typical developmental milestones for a 9-month-old, according to the CDC, include playing peek-a-boo and sitting without support. The agency does not mention taking part in angry mobs.