Ahmed Mansour Karni received the lengthy prison term after he was convicted in absentia of four counts of murder, eight of attempted murder, vandalising property, disturbance of peace and threatening police officers - all before his second birthday.

Karni, who was sentenced in a Cairo court this week, is among 115 defendants who were all given life sentences at the same time for crimes allegedly committed in early 2014 in Fayoum province, 70 kilometres south of Cairo.

His defense attorney Faisal al-Sayd said Karni's name had been added to the list by mistake but the court did not pass his birth certificate on to the judge to prove he was born in September 2012.

"It appeared that the court did not transfer the material," Faisal was quoted as saying by media reports.

Meanwhile, commenting on the case, Interior Ministry Spokesman Abu Bakr Abdel Karim clarified that the sentence was on the child's uncle not the child himself. His comments came during a phone call to a TV show late yesterday.

Head of the Fayoum Security Directorate Naser el-Abd said the name of the uncle of the child was mistaken for the child.