Lama al-Ghamdi, 5, died this past October from injuries relating to a crushed skull, broken ribs, a broken arm, a broken back and severe burns. On top of being brutally beaten, medical reports say that Lama had also been raped repeatedly.
Lama was killed by her father, prominent Islamic preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi, who served only three months in prison and was released after paying $50,000 as ‘blood money.’
This story comes only weeks after the Saudi Arabian execution of a maid named Rizana Nafeek, who was tortured into admitting she caused the death of her employers’ infant son, Kayed bin Nayef bin Jazyan al-Otaibi.
The activist group Women to Drive reports that the judge overseeing this case felt al-Ghamdi’s short stint in prison was punishment enough, in addition to the payment, which supposedly went to Lama’s mother. The group contends that the fine would have been doubled if Lama had been a boy.
Then again, she’d probably still be alive if that had been the case.
Activists also say that fathers cannot be executed for murdering his children or his wife (or wives) under Islamic law.
Manal al-Sharif, one of the Saudi activists who started the Women to Drive campaign, initiated a hashtag on Twitter to bring awareness to the plight of abused women and children in Saudi Arabia. The hastag #analama is translated to mean “I am Lama” and is encouraging social media users to become aware of and active against acts such as this.
Discontent in Saudi Arabia is growing around the unfair treatment of its citizens, which will undoubtedly be amplified by worldwide social media involvement in the cause. Authorities have announced plans to open a 24-hour hotline for victims to report abuse.