Saudi Preacher Released After Raping, Killing Daughter Because He 'Doubted Her Virginity'

Five-year-old Lama, raped, killed by her father.

Five-year-old Lama, raped, killed by her father.

A Saudi preacher accused of raping, torturing and killing his five-year-old daughter, has reportedly been released from custody after agreeing to pay "blood money".

Fayhan al-Ghamdi was sentenced to eight years in prison and 800 lashes in 2013.

The court also ordered al-Ghamdi to pay his ex-wife, the girl's mother, one million riyals ($270,000) in "blood money".

According to some reports, al-Ghamdi had suspected his daughter had lost her virginity and had tortured her accordingly.

Al-Ghamdi's daughter Lama suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken back, broken ribs, a broken left arm and extensive bruising and burns.

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 preacher - who is considered a celebrity in Saudi Arabia and often appears on Saudi television - admitted he used a cane and cables to inflict the injuries after doubting his five-year-old daughter's virginity and taking her to a doctor, according to the campaign group Women to Drive.

Lama died ten months later.

Al-Ghamdi, however, has now been released as "blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lama's death suffices as punishment" a judge ruled, according to Albawaba News.

Al-Ghamdi served only a few months in jail before a judge ruled the prosecution could only seek blood money.

The money is considered compensation under Islamic law, although it is only half the amount that would have been paid if Lama had been a boy.

Despite the fact Saudi Arabia hands out sentences of capital punishment, fathers cannot be executed for murdering their children in the country, Women to Drive said.

Many activists were disappointed that al-Ghamdi did not receive a life sentence. 

The Times reported sources in the Saudi capital Riyadh as saying the royal family has been outraged over the release, with senior members intervening to ensure a stricter punishment is given.

One source told the newspaper, "The royal court is now looking at the case. He [al-Ghamdi] will stay in prison for a long time."

The release saw people taking to the social media to voice their dissent and outrage. On Twitter, the hashtag #AnaLama (which translates into "I Am Lama") has been set up.

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