Saudi mom appeals sentence in rape case

Published: Feb. 4, 2013 at 11:25 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The mother of a 5-year-old girl who was raped and killed by her father appealed a Saudi court's decision to sentence the man to five months in jail.

Legal experts said last week's ruling was a primary judgment issued by the General Court of First Instance and the girl's mother, who was divorced from the child's father, could appeal within 30 days, Gulf News reported Monday.

"The mother has the right to call for a stringent application of more severe sanctions against the offender," legal consultant Ahmad Al Muhaimeed told the Saudi news website Huroof. "People focused on the religious judgment but did not mention the private right where the ruling should not be less than five years in prison."

The man convicted of the crime, self-proclaimed preacher Fayhan Al Gamdi, also paid blood money to his ex-wife.

The Saudi Islamic Affairs Ministry said late last year that Ghamdi was not an officially sanctioned Islamic cleric and no official records about his being a preacher could be found.

"He had committed a heinous crime and he cannot be a preacher," Sheik Saleh Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shaikh said. "No one can ever justify his crime."

Saudi bloggers expressed outrage over the lenient sentence for Ghamdi, found guilty of torturing his daughter to death when she visited him and his new wife. The girl, Luma, lived with her mother and was allowed to visit her father.

In December 2011, the mother, who was not identified, was told by Riyadh police her daughter was hospitalized for severe burns and bruises, and she was in critical condition.

"It was such a terrible shock to see her frail body in this tragic state. She remained paralyzed for eight months before she passed away," the mother said.

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