Saudis: Muslim cleric still on trial

Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:46 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Muslim cleric charged with the torture killing of his daughter is still on trial, the Saudi government said Thursday, denying reports he was spared prison.

Fahad bin Abdullah al-Bokran, a spokesman for the Justice Ministry, said in a statement released to Saudi news media reports last week that Fayhan al-Gamdi had been ordered to pay blood money or diya to the 5-year-old girl's mother were inaccurate, Gulf News reported. He said the next court date will be Wednesday.

"The case is still being heard at the court and no sentence has been issued yet," the statement said. "The father is still in prison and we expect a ruling soon after all aspects related to the case are examined."

Al-Gamdi's daughter, Luma, died in November, after six months in a Riyadh hospital. The little girl had a fractured skull and other severe injuries.

Reports that her father would suffer only a financial penalty outraged many in Saudi Arabia.

Luma's mother, who is divorced from al-Gamdi, denied her daughter was raped.

"My daughter was not raped," she told Saudi news media. "All the official evidence both at the hospital where she was treated or by the police indicate that she had not been raped by her father. I am shocked by the assault on my daughter's honor."

The government says al-Gamdi is not an official cleric. He is known for television appearances.

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