A Saudi court has sentenced a preacher to eight years in jail and 600 lashes for torturing and beating his 5-year-old daughter to death.
CNN reports that Fayhan al-Ghamdi was found guilty on Monday by a Saudi court in the town of Hawta. His daughter, Lama, was admitted to King Saud Hospital in Riyadh in early 2012, after suffering extensive injuries, including broken ribs, a crushed skull, bruising and burns. She reportedly died due to her injuries in October 2012.
"The girl's mother ceded her original request to sentence the father to death," Mohammed Almadi of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission told CNN, citing a lawyer for his group who was in the courtroom. "She has since asked for the father to pay her blood money instead, which is her right in the Saudi legal system."
The abuse reportedly happened while Lama was with her father, who was separated from her mother, according to BBC News. It was reported that al-Ghamdi had suspected his daughter of losing her virginity and had beaten her and molested her in response. It was even suggested that he had raped her himself, although this was denied by Lama's mother.
The outrage over the case intensified earlier this year when activists suggested that he might walk free, despite having confessed to having beaten Lama. Activists warned that it looked like he might be released if the mother accepted blood money.
The story made headlines across the world and helped bring the issue of child abuse to light in Saudi Arabia where rights activists say strict codes of family privacy and a patriarchal tradition make it a serious problem.
Activists reportedly said that al-Ghamdi is an Islamist evangelist popular in Saudi Arabia for his appearances on TV and for speaking on air about the rewards of repenting to God. However, he is not recognized as a cleric by the Saudi religious establishment.