Reuters International

CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian court sentenced a man to death on Thursday for raping a 20-month-old girl, in a case that sparked widespread public outrage, judicial sources told Reuters.

The victim's mother accused a 35-year-old man of kidnapping and raping her daughter, causing heavy bleeding. The authorities arrested the defendant in March.

A criminal court in the Nile Delta province of Dakahlia recommended the death penalty in April and referred the case to the top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding but legally required opinion.

The defendant may appeal the verdict to the Court of Cassation, the country's top court, which may uphold it or order a retrial.

"I hope the verdict is upheld so that society is assured that deterrence exists," the victim's lawyer, Tarek al-Awady, told Reuters.

(Reporting by Haitham Ahmed; Writing by Arwa Gaballa; Editing by Ahmed Aboulenein)

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