Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Ministry has distanced itself from the prominent religious scholar who had tortured his five-year-old daughter, Lamaa, to death.
“Luma’s father is not among the scholars officially registered with us,” Shaikh Saleh Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shaikh, the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments and Guidance, told Saudi Al-sharq newspaper.
“We have nothing to do with him in any way. What he did is an atrocious crime that is condemned by the whole nation. He cannot be a religious leader or a religious scholar and nobody can excuse his cruel crime,” Shaikh Saleh added.
Okaz daily reported on Tuesday that Saudi authorities have detained the preacher.
The daily said the man, described as a “prominent” religious scholar who often preaches on numerous satellite television channels, was transferred to the general prosecution for questioning.
Saad al-Qahtani, spokesman for the directorate of health affairs in Riyadh, told Okaz that the medical report of the girl Lamaa would be given to the “concerned parties.”
Lamaa breathed her last breath in an intensive care unit of a hospital in the Saudi capital Riyadh a few days ago, after weeks of suffering from broken arms, a skull fracture and head bruises, her mother told Al Arabiya.
“He used all sorts of torture and abuse against Lamaa,” the girl’s mother said, now divorced from her brutal husband.
The mother explained that after she was divorced she had an “agreement” with her former husband regarding the daughter they shared.
Recently, he took his daughter for two weeks as per “the agreement” but he never returned her back, the mother said, adding that she was “surprised” to receive a call from the public prosecutor in Hotat Bani Tamim, located 160 km south of Riyadh, asking her to go to Shamisi Hospital.
The medical report indicated that Lamaa was tortured with whips and electric shocks. She was even burned with an iron, the mother said.
The hospital matron said the man admitted to beating his daughter, but did not explain why.
“I was shocked and could not believe what happened to Lamaa when I saw her. I could not believe that is no mercy in people’s hearts,” Lamaa’s mother said.
When she asked her former husband at the hospital why he tortured Lamaa, he replied with a “chuckle only.”
The mother and the hospital refused to provide the name of the man and only described him as a “well known” television preacher.
Suhaila Zain Al Abideen, a member of the National Society for Human Rights, said the father should be given the death penalty for his crime, UAE-based Gulf News newspaper reported.
“The number of divorced fathers and mothers killing their children is ominously increasing because there is no deterring action against horrible crimes. Regretfully, only one case resulted in the capital execution for the murderer, while in most cases the prison term does not exceed five years,” she said.