Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Court of Appeal on Tuesday mitigated the ruling of a lower court for a father and stepmother who abused their nine-year-old daughter, Nouf, after prosecutors had asked for a tougher penalty.

The father and stepmother of Nouf, originally sentenced to 10 years in jail for torturing the child, received seven years.

However, the court upheld the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court's order for the parents to jointly pay Dh160,000 in compensation to the girl, who suffered 80 per cent physical disability, according to medical reports.

Nouf is being offered physical and psychological care and rehabilitation to help her overcome her ordeal, officials said.

The Public Prosecutor had demanded that the father and stepmother each receive 15 years in jail, based on the penal code, which states that a tougher penalty must be imposed if a criminal takes advantage of a victim's weakness or inability to resist, or in any circumstances where nobody is able to defend the victim.

Representative of the Public Prosecutor said the defendants opted to use the harshest means of torture - burning - and this invites the toughest penalty.

The criminal court earlier heard the case of the girl who suffered horrific injuries. The paternal grandmother and uncles of the victim, who is being treated for burns, knife cuts and bruises over her body at Al Mafraq Hospital, gave statements against the father.

The grandmother told the court Nouf had been tortured at the hands of her father and stepmother.

"My son had taken his daughter to live with him four years ago and ever since she kept complaining about continuous abuse."

The father told the court if he had not disciplined his daughter, she would have committed sins. "I saved her," he said.

- with inputs from Dina El Shammaa, Staff Reporter