He was released after paying blood money, and I do not know if in this case, the court in Hawtat Bani Tamim has released a father after five months when he killed his own baby girl, Lama.
Murderer father can have his share from the blood money?! Why not, he is her father! Since the court did not criminalize him because a father is not executed for his child, then surely it will not prevent him from taking his share of the blood money; thus we see that the killer was rewarded rather than punished. If I could draw a smiley face at the end of this sentence, I would have done it, because we have ended up with a joke not a child’s murder.
This joke would quickly end as soon as we realize that the medical report was delayed since the sexual assault was not clear because of the violence that was inflicted on sensitive organs and part of her body that were burnt with an iron and tortured with whips and electric shocks. Although there is no nastier crime than killing, describing the torture that Lamaa was exposed to before breathing her last in the hospital, is worse than the crime itself and death seems to be more merciful.
It has proven that the killer represents a threat for the society as a whole and not only his family if he is released without treatment; the father has tried to escape from the death sentence by questioning the behavior of his 4-year-old daughter, but the judiciary did not force him to resort to such allegations since he was not sentenced anyway.
Despite the fact that Islam forbade the torture of a cat and threatened the culprits with fire based on a true Hadith, yet according to the judiciary, the death of a child as a result of suffering from a skull fracture, broken arms, burns all over her body and the distortion of sensitive organs and parts, does not require prison sentence for many long years, since at the end, this child who has been murdered is the daughter of the killer, as if “sonship” is a title deed that has nothing to do with the human value or integrity.
The judge’s verdict is based on a controversial Hadith stating that “a father is not executed for his child,” where some did not take it into consideration saying that it is within the habits of revenge among the Arabs and not a jurisprudence rule treasured in Islam. However, this frail Hadith outdid the Quranic verses that condemn killing, stating that whoever kills one soul is regarded as someone who has killed all mankind, and applying the “soul for a soul” rule.
Why doesn’t that relate for murdering a child, isn’t this baby girl a soul? The man who killed his daughter was not self-possessed as he was known as a former drug addict, spending his childhood in an orphanage, and maybe surviving his childhood as a victim, but he became a criminal citizen who seemed to be – when killing his own daughter – obsessed with torture and brutality. All of these indicators show that he has psychological and social problems and his release was not based on these problems since he was not sent for treatment.
The release of the killer – as well as the loss of the victim’s right – exposes the community once again, to deal with an abnormal and irresponsible person who might get back to his tasks as a father, school security, religious mentor and guide. I am wondering: How could such a man who has psychological problems be in charge of all these tasks while a little girl like Lamaa innocently dies?
This article was first published in al-Hayat on Jan. 30, 2013
(Dr. Badria al-Bishr is a multi-award-winning Saudi columnist and novelist. A PhD graduate from the American University of Beirut, and an alumnus of the U.S. State Department International Visitor program. Her columns put emphasis on women and social issues in Saudi Arabia. She currently lectures at King Saud University's Department of Social Studies.)