x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Blood money ruling for Saudi daughter's death prompts outrage

Online activists in Saudi Arabia are calling for harsher punishments for child abuse after reports that a prominent cleric received only a light sentence after confessing to the rape and beating death of his five-year-old daughter.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia // Online activists in Saudi Arabia are calling for harsher punishments for child abuse after reports that a prominent cleric received only a light sentence after confessing to the beating death of his five-year-old daughter.

The social media campaign that was gaining momentum on Sunday is the latest attempt to use the Internet to pressure the kingdom's ultraconservative rulers.

Saudi media reports say Fayhan Al Ghamdi, a frequent guest on Islamic TV programs, was arrested in November on charges of killing his daughter, Lamial. The reports said he questioned the child's virginity.

Al Ghamdi had confessed to using cables and a cane to inflict the injuries, activists from the group Women to Drive said.

A social worker from the hospital where the girl was admitted said her back was broken and that she had been raped "everywhere".

Saudi media say Al Ghamdi was freed last week after serving a short prison term and agreeing to pay $50,000 in "blood money" to avoid a possible death sentence.

The money was presumably offered to the girl's mother or other relatives.

* With AFP