Will a Child Rapist Walk Free in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia has yet again been placed under international scrutiny after a story circulated stating that a father who raped and killed his own daughter last year was to be set free upon a small payment of blood money.
The self-proclaimed Saudi cleric Fayan Al-Ghamdi has been accused of raping and torturing his own 5-year-old daughter, Lama Al-Ghamdi, to death. Dr. Mohammed Mehdi, the medical examiner in Lama’s case reported to Asharq Al-Awsat that the ‘offender committed all sorts of physical abuse on the victim’ and that the 5-year-old girl suffered from clear evidence of sexual abuse and rape, including ‘swelling in the region of the genitals and laceration in her anal area.’
The father confessed to the abuse, mentioning to the judge that he believed that Lama was behaving inappropriately. Al-Ghamdi had even hired a medical professional to examine and confirm that his child’s virginity was intact.
… The Kingdom is notorious for its harsh punishments for seemingly petty crimes. Amnesty International reported that at least 79 individuals were beheaded in Saudi Arabia in 2012 alone, eight of whom were teenagers. The majority of execution cases in the country are against individuals charged of trafficking drugs into the country; individuals can and have been executed for murder, apostasy, and sorcery. With such harsh punishments possible in Saudi Arabia, many were shocked that Al-Ghamdi could get away with the torture, rape, and murder of his own daughter.
However, it appears that the reports on this ruling were premature. Itmad AlSunaidi, a legal researcher at the Human Rights Association in Riyadh, told Asharq Al-Awsat Tuesday that the hearing would begin this week, that no blood money sentence has been issued, and in a crime this big that no sentence would be called in just one session. Al-Watan reported that the court session would be on February 5, and that it would be the first hearing where Lana’s mother would have legal representation.