Saudi celebrity preacher accused of torturing daughter to death will remain in prison
The Saudi royal family has intervened to block the release of a religious scholar accused of raping, torturing and killing his five-year-old daughter, according to media reports.
Female rights campaign group, Women to Drive, released a statement earlier this month saying that that 'celebrity' preacher, Fayhan al-Ghamdi, was set to be released after only a few months in jail following a payment of around $48,600 in “blood money” to the mother of his daughter Lama, who died in October 2012.
According to Women to Drive, Lama suffered multiple injuries at the hands of her father including a crushed skull, broken back, broken ribs, a broken left arm and extensive bruising and burns. Social workers say she had also been repeatedly raped and burned.
The group claimed that Al-Ghamdi, who regularly appears on Saudi television, admitted using a cane and cables to inflict the injuries after doubting his five-year-old daughter’s virginity.
The case caused outrage in Saudi Arabia with many calling for Al-Ghamdi's execution.
However, national laws in Saudi mean that a father cannot be executed for murdering his children as husbands cannot be executed for murdering their wives.
On Tuesday, the Saudi Justice Ministry issued a statement saying the cleric remained in prison and the case was continuing.
One source told British newspaper, The Times: “The royal court is now looking at the case. He [Al-Ghamdi] will stay in prison for a long time.”
In response to the public outrage over the case, Saudi authorities set up a 24-hour hotline to take calls about child abuse.
The 'blood money' Al-Ghamdi agreed to pay is considered compensation under Islamic law but is only half the amount that would have been paid had Lama been a boy.
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