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Saudi royal family intervenes in murder of 5-year-old

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First published: February 13, 2013, 12:59 PM IST | Updated: February 13, 2013
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Saudi royal family intervenes in murder of 5-year-old
The royal family has taken up the case of a celebrity cleric who confessed to killing his 5-year-old daughter.

The royal family has taken up the case of child abuse by a Saudi celebrity cleric who confessed to the beating death of his 5-year-old daughter. The royal family intervened in the case after online activists called for harsher punishments after reports that the cleric received only a light sentence.

The Independent newspaper on Wednesday quoted The Times as saying that the Saudi Justice Ministry has issued a statement. The statement said the "cleric remained in prison and the case was continuing".

The Times reported sources in the Saudi capital Riyadh as saying the royal family had been "stung" by the outrage over the case, with senior members intervening to ensure a stricter punishment is given.

"The royal court is now looking at the case. He will stay in prison for a long time," The Times quoted a source as saying.

The social media campaign gaining momentum is the latest attempt to use the Internet to pressure the kingdom's ultraconservative rulers.

Saudi media reports say Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a frequent guest on Islamic TV programs, was arrested in November on charges of killing the girl. The reports said he questioned the child's virginity.

Saudi media said he was freed after serving a short prison term and agreeing to pay $50,000 in "blood money" to avoid a possible death sentence. The money was presumably offered to the girl's mother or other relatives. (With inputs from the Associated Press)

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