Cleric Murders Girl Because He Thinks She's Not A Virgin

| by Sean Kelly
Fayhan al-Ghamdi (right) and his daughterFayhan al-Ghamdi (right) and his daughter

A Saudi preacher allegedly raped, tortured and murdered his 5-year-old daughter because he believed she wasn't a virgin.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi was accused of killing his daughter after she suffered a crushed skull, broken ribs, broken back, a broken left arm and severe bruises and burns.

Authorities said the girl had also been repeatedly raped.

Randa al-Kaleeb, a social worker who at the hospital where the girl was admitted, said she’d been raped “everywhere,” the AFP reported, per the Huffington Post. 

Ghamdi subsequently admitted to injuring his daughter using a cane and cables after he began to question her virginity. He was initially given a short prison sentence for the crime and a judge later ruled that he would be required to pay “blood money.”

“Blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lama's death suffices as punishment,” said the judge, the Independent reported.

Ghamdi, a celebrity in Saudi Arabia who often appears on television, agreed to pay money to his daughter’s mother. Under Islamic law, blood money is considered compensation for a death. The money was reportedly half the amount that the wife would have been paid had their child been a boy.

The light punishment for Ghamdi sparked outrage among rights activists in the ultra-conservative country -- with many fighting for a harsher punishment. The crime of murdering a wife or child is not punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Typically, such cases result in prison sentences of five to 12 years.

Following the national outrage over the sentence, authorities said they planned to set up a hotline for cases of child abuse. 

Following the initial sentence, a court ordered Ghamdi to serve eight years in prison and 800 lashes, according to AFP. Ghamdi’s second wife, who played a role in the murder, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and 150 lashes. 

Ghamdi was ultimately ordered to pay his daughter’s mother $270,000 in blood money, though she demanded $2.7 million, said lawyer Turki al-Rasheed. 

Sources: Independent, AFP via Huffington Post / Photo credit: The Judiciary Report

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