A Saudi preacher who tortured his five-year-old daughter to death has been released after agreeing to pay ‘blood money’, activists said.
Lama al-Ghamdi died in October having suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns.
The child had also been repeatedly raped and the burned.
Lama suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken ribs and back, bruising and burns. She had also been raped repeatedly
Her father Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a prominent Islamist preacher who regularly appears on television in Saudi Arabia, served only a few months in jail despite admitting having used a cane and cables to inflict the injuries.
Activists from the group Women to Drive said the preacher had doubted Lama’s virginity and had her checked up by a medic.
Randa al-Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital where Lama was admitted, said the girl’s back was broken and that she had been repeatedly raped.
Her injuries were then burned.
Rather than the death penalty or a long prison sentence, the judge in the case ruled the prosecution could only seek ‘blood money’, according to activists.
The money is compensation for the next of kin under Islamic law.
Torture: Saudi preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi admitting beating his daughter with a cable and is said to have been concerned about his five-year-old daughter’s virginity
Activists said the judge ruled the few months al-Ghamdi spent in prison since his arrest in November was sufficient punishment.
He has reportedly agreed to pay £31,000 ($50,000), which is believed to have gone to Lama’s mother.
The amount is half that would have been paid if Lama had been a boy.
Activists say under Islamic laws a father cannot be executed for murdering his children. Husbands can also not be executed for murdering their wives, the group say.
Three Saudi activists, including Manal al-Sharif, who started the women’s right to drive campaign, have raised objections to the ruling.
A social media campaign is now gaining momentum after the ruling was publicised.
Manal al-Sharif has launched a campaign on Twitter using the hashtag ‘Ana Lama’, which is translated as I am Lama, calling for better protection for children and women.
Local reports say public anger in Saudi Arabia is also growing and authorities have said they will create a 24-hour hotline to take calls about child abuse.
Women to Drive said in a post on their Facebook page