RIYADH – A Saudi preacher who raped his 5-year-old daughter and tortured her to death has been sentenced to pay “blood money” to the mother after having served a short jail term, activists said Saturday.
Lama al-Ghamdi was admitted to a hospital on Dec. 25, 2011, with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns. She died Oct. 22. Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a preacher and regular guest on Muslim television networks, confessed to having used cables and a cane to inflict the injuries. Activists from the group Women to Drive said he had doubted Lama’s virginity and had her checked by a medic.
Randa al-Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital where Lama was admitted, said her back was broken and she had been raped “everywhere.” Hospital staffers told her mother that her “child’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed.”
The activists said that the judge had ruled that the prosecution could only seek blood money — compensation for the next of kin under Islamic law — and that the time the defendant had served in prison was sufficient punishment. Three Saudi activists, including Manal al-Sharif, have raised objections to the ruling.
The ruling is based on Islamic laws that a father cannot be executed for murdering his children, nor can husbands be executed for murdering their wives, activists said.