Saudi Preacher Fayhan al-Ghamdi Gets Away with Raping, Torturing 5-Year-Old Daughter Lama to Death
A prominent Saudi Arabian preacher who raped his 5-year-old daughter before torturing her to death because he reportedly questioned the child’s virginity has been spared a death sentence or even a lengthy prison term after agreeing to pay “blood money” to the slain girl’s mother.
Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a former drug addict who rose to national prominence as an Islamic television preacher, was arrested last November and charged with brutally raping and torturing 5-year-old Lama al-Ghamdi to death. According to a medical report, the little girl had been tortured with whips, electric shocks and an iron. She had broken arms, fractured ribs, a broken back and a crushed skull. She died on October 22.
According to social worker Randa al-Kaleeb, Lama had been raped “everywhere.” Hospital staff told the girl’s mother that her “daughter’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed,” Agence France-Presse reports.
It wasn’t the first time that al-Ghamdi abused his daughter. Last April, he was accused of torturing her so badly that her skull was fractured and she sustained brain damage.
Al-Ghamdi was jailed for a short period, but the judge ruled that the prosecution could only seek to compel him to pay “blood money” to Lama’s mother. The Associated Press cites Saudi media sources claiming that al-Ghamdi paid $50,000 to avoid more severe punishment. That, combined with time served, led to the killer’s freedom.
In Saudi Arabia, a US ally, people are executed by public beheading for apostasy (renouncing Islam), blasphemy, witchcraft, sorcery, adultery, homosexuality and prostitution. But under Islamic law, men cannot be executed for killing their wives or children.
Saudi Arabia ranks among the repressive nations on earth. Arbitrary arrest and torture of reform advocates, religious minorities and totally innocent people are commonplace. The Saudi legal system is a cruel farce, with defendants often denied legal counsel and tortured into making false confessions. Lesser criminals often have their hands and legs amputated without anesthesia.
Being born female in Saudi Arabia is to be condemned to a hellish life of virtual slavery. Not only are women not allowed to vote, they cannot drive cars. They cannot be treated in a hospital or travel without written permission from their husbands or male relatives. One woman who was kidnapped and gang-raped was sentenced to 90 whip lashes for being with unrelated males. When she went to the media to complain, her sentence was increased to 200 lashes. In 2002, 15 schoolgirls needlessly died when members of the dreaded morality police locked them inside their burning school and stopped firefighters from saving them simply because the girls were not properly dressed in robes and headscarves.
The Saudi education system reinforces this medieval barbarism. School textbooks disparage women, call for gays to be put to death, teach how to cut off thieves’ hands and stress the importance of the destruction of the Jewish people. “The hour of God’s judgment will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” reads one textbook.
Such is life in the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom without an elected parliament where the courts are run by religious extremists, adherents of a super-strict brand of Islamic fundamentalism called Wahhabism. It was Wahhabism that spawned al-Qaeda; Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis. In a bid to consolidate and protect its power and curry favor with powerful extremist clerics, members of the Saudi royal family routinely make large donations to Islamic ‘charities’ that in turn fund terrorist groups. The Saudi government also supported the Taliban right up until 9/11 and then refused to help US intelligence officials with background checks on the Saudi hijackers.
These truths have been ignored by successive US administrations, including Barack Obama’s. Rather than rebuke Saudi repression, Obama rewarded it by allowing the sale of $60 billion worth of advanced military aircraft to the kingdom and by warmly welcoming Saudi King Abdullah to the White House.
It’s not only Saudi Arabia. The US supports brutal dictatorships in 4 of the world’s 7 least free nations, based on Freedom House rankings.