RIYADH: In a shocking incident in Saudi Arabia, a preacher who confessed to raping and beating his 5-year-old daughter to death was let off without any jail term and was only fined 200,000 riyals for his heinous crime.
The fine is the 'blood money' that is to be paid to compensate the victim's relatives. Islamic law specifies that the 'blood money' can be paid in lieu of the death penalty.
Since the victim was a girl, the fine for the preacher, one Fayhan al-Ghamdi, was reduced to half the usual amount.
There is no clarity on this yet, but reports suggest that the money may have been offered to the girl's mother or some other relatives.
Ghamdi confessed to the crime and said he used a cane and cables to beat his daughter up. The justification the man gave for this was that he doubted that his 5-year-old daughter, Lama Ghamdi, was a virgin. He also forced her into undergoing a medical inspection.
The judgment has sparked off a major public outrage in Saudi Arabia, especially on the Internet where online campaigns demanding harsher punishment for the monstrous crime.
Reports said that as far back as in December 2011, the little child was hospitalised with a crushed skull, broken ribs and limbs, heavy bruising and burn marks. The hospital, reports stated, also said that the child had been raped.
According to an agency report, the hospital said that the child's 'rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed'.
The child died in October 2012 because of her grave injuries and in November the father was arrested.
The judge ruled that the fine and the time that the man had spent in prison after his arrest were enough punishment.
Fayhan al-Ghamdi is a regular guest on television programmes in Saudi Arabia.