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Law punishes mothers abstaining from feeding their infants with prison time

Legal opinions resolved the controversy raised on social media regarding obligating the mothers to breastfeed their infants, saying abstaining from feeding the infant is punishable by prison under law.

Some legal experts said that such controversy, however, creates confusion within society, without enough legal knowledge.

The Egyptian law specifies clear provisions for imprisonment and a fine, and in some cases, both, for the mother, they said.

Mohamed Mizar, a lawyer in cassation and the Supreme Administrative Court, says that Law No. 126 of 2008 amending some provisions of Child Law No. 12 of 1996, Penal Code No. 58 of 1937 and Law No. 143 of 1994 on civil status, state that neglect of duty towards children is a criminal offense that requires punishment.

Mizar added that according to the law, anyone who exposes a child to a dangerous situation shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of no less than six months and a fine of no less than LE2,000 and not exceeding LE5,000, or one of these two penalties.

Also, Article 96 of the Child Law talked about cases that are considered a danger to the child, Mizar said.

“There is no greater danger to the child than their mother’s refusal to breastfeed them and her intentionally doing so. Here, the mother is punished for the crime of premeditated murder by abstaining or leaving. The killing does not depend here on doing a positive action only, but may be achieved by a negative action,” he explained.

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