Saudi preacher jailed eight years for raping, killing daughter

Published October 8, 2013
Fayhan al-Ghamdi. — File photo
Fayhan al-Ghamdi. — File photo

RIYADH: A Saudi court sentenced a preacher convicted of raping his five-year-old daughter and torturing her to death to eight years in prison and 800 lashes, a lawyer said Tuesday.

In a case that drew widespread public condemnation in the kingdom and abroad, the court also ordered Fayhan al-Ghamdi to pay his ex-wife, the girl's mother, one million riyals ($270,000) in “blood money,” lawyer Turki al-Rasheed told AFP.

Blood money is compensation for the next of kin under Islamic law.

The girl's mother had demanded 10 million riyals ($2.7 million).

Ghamdi's second wife, accused of taking part in the crime, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and 150 lashes, said Rasheed, who is lawyer for the girl's mother.

Ghamdi was convicted of “raping and killing his five-year-old daughter Lama,” he added.

The girl was admitted to hospital on December 25, 2011 with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns, activists said. She died several months later.

Ghamdi, a regular guest on Muslim television networks despite not being an authorised cleric in Saudi Arabia, had confessed to having used cables and a cane to inflict the injuries, human rights activists said earlier this year.

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 raped “everywhere”.

Reportedly, Ghamdi had tortured and raped his daughter after he had doubted her virginity.

Rights activists in the kingdom had been campaigning for harsher punishment of Ghamdi when reports emerged in January that the court would only give him a short jail term and order him to pay blood money to the mother.

In ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where rape and murder are among several crimes punishable by death, a father cannot be executed for murdering his children, nor can husbands be executed for murdering their wives.

Such crimes carry a jail sentence between five to 12 years.

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