A "celebrity" Saudi preacher accused of raping and torturing his 5-year-old daughter to death has been released from custody after agreeing to pay "blood money".

Fayhan al-Ghamdi had been accused of killing his daughter Lama, who suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken back, broken ribs, a broken left arm and extensive bruising and burns. Social workers say she had also been raped and burned.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi admitted using a cane and cables to inflict the injuries after doubting her virginity, said campaign group Women to Drive.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi served only a few months in jail before a judge ruled the prosecution could only seek blood money. Fayhan al-Ghamdi, who regularly appears on television in Saudi Arabia, is said to have agreed to pay £31,000 ($58,000) to Lama's mother. The money is only half the amount that would have been paid had Lama been a boy.


Women to Drive say fathers cannot be executed for murdering their children in the country. Equally, husbands cannot be executed for murdering their wives.

Local reports say public anger over the settlement is growing across Saudi Arabia.

- Independent