Saudi preacher gets 8 years in jail for daughter's abuse, death

DUBAI Tue Oct 8, 2013 12:45pm EDT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a Muslim preacher convicted of abusing his daughter and causing her death to eight years in prison and 800 lashes, Saudi media said on Tuesday.

The court in Hotat Bani Tamim, a town south of the capital Riyadh, also gave the girl's stepmother 10 months in jail and 150 lashes for complicity in the killing, the www.sabq.org news website reported.

Five-year-old Lama al-Ghamdi died in hospital last year, several months after she was admitted with body burns, skull fractures and brain hemorrhage. The case stirred outrage in the conservative Muslim kingdom, according to Saudi media.

The girl's death prompted heated discussions on social media, according to another news website, www.alolaa.net.

Saudi Arabia passed new laws against domestic abuse, the first of their kind in the kingdom, earlier this year. Previously, limited domestic violence was tolerated as a way of bringing unruly or "disobedient" wives and children into line.

Sabq said the jail term and lashing sentence was passed on Monday. It said the girl's mother had earlier waived her right to demand the death penalty after the father agreed to pay 1,000,000 riyals ($266,600) in blood-money.

The sentence is subject to appeal within 30 days, it reported.

The girl's mother declined to comment. A spokesman for the Justice Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Sabq did not name the father, but other news outlets identified him as Fayhan al-Ghamdi and said he had become a preacher appearing on some television stations after overcoming what Saudi media called a "deviant" history. ($1 = 3.7503 Saudi riyals)

(Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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