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Saudi Arabia denies killer’s clerical links

Human rights activist calls for death penalty after torture and murder of 5-year-old

Image Credit: Al Sharq
The murdered five year old Luma.
Gulf News

Manama: Saudi Arabia’s Islamic affairs ministry has distanced itself from the alleged religious scholar who had tortured his five-year-old daughter, Luma, 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, said. “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 told local Arabic daily Al Sharq.

Saudi Arabia was rocked by reports that the girl, whose parents were divorced, was tortured to death by her father who had used whips and electric wires to “punish” her.

Luma was scheduled to make a brief visit to her father as part of a shared custody deal, but he allegedly refused to let her go back to her mother.

Reports said that the father who was not identified was a well-known religious scholar who often appeared on satellite television channels to promote morals and positive values.

The minister said that several people were engaged in “activities and efforts” without the ministry’s approval or knowledge.

Suhaila Zain Al Abideen, a member of the National Society for Human Rights, said that the father should be given the death penalty for his crime.

“Should the investigations conclude that he was the one who tortured his five-year-old daughter to death, he should be given the capital sentence,” she said.

“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.