SAUDI ARABIAN COURT: FATHER RAPES, TORTURES FIVE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER TO DEATH ABSOLVED OF CHARGES
Lama Al Ghamdi was a five-year-old girl who was admitted into a hospital on the December 25, 2011, with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns. One of her fingernails had been torn off. The child’s mother reported that the hospital staff told her the child’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed.
Randa Al Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital, said in a phone interview that Lama’s back was broken as well and that she had been raped “everywhere”. Lama died of her injuries on the October 22, 2012.
Lama’s father, Fayhan Al Ghamdi, confessed to being the perpetrator and to using cables and a cane to afflict the injuries. The father is an Islamistpreacher and a regular guest on Islamist television networks. According to Dr. Suhaila Zain Alabdeen from the Saudi National Society of Human Rights, the father had doubted five-year-old Lama’s virginity and went as far as to have a medical professional check that her virginity was intact.
Her mother said in an interview on a regional talk show that she felt that there was something wrong three months before Lama was admitted to the hospital but that her ex-husband would only allow her short telephone conversations. She begged him to give her the girl but he refused. By the time she finally got to see her, Lama was in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.
According to local papers, the judge in the initial court session on January 26, 2012, ruled the prosecution may only seek blood money and the time the defendant has served in prison since Lama’s death suffices as punishment. http://alwatan.com.s… … tegoryID=3
The ruling is based on a Sharia argument that fathers cannot be executed for murdering their children, nor can husbands be executed for murdering their wives. Fathers and husbands who murder their children or wives are consistently sentenced to five to twelve years in prison at most. This leniency is not extended to mothers and wives. In the history of Saudi Arabia, there has only been one case in 2008 where a father and his second wife were executed for torturing his daughter to death.
The courts’ leniency towards male abusers and murderers reflects the larger problem of the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia, wherein ALL women are considered minors and are automatically assigned to the care and judgment of their most immediate male relative. This guardianship gives the male relatives the power to sell girls legally into child marriages and to ban adult women from work, travel and obtaining medical operations.
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