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Middle East

Cleric's release after murder case sparks anger

Online activists in Saudi Arabia are calling for harsher punishments for child abuse following reports that a prominent cleric received a light sentence after confessing to beating his five-year-old daughter to death.

The social media campaign which was gaining momentum last night is the latest attempt to pressure the kingdom's ultraconservative rulers.

Saudi media said Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a frequent guest on Islamic television programmes, was arrested in November on charges of killing the girl. Reports said he questioned the child's virginity. He was reported to have been freed last week after serving a short prison term and agreeing to pay $50,000 (£31,000) in "blood money" to avoid a possible death sentence.