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Originally published Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 5:40 AM

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Outrage over Saudi `blood money' in girl's death

Online activists in Saudi Arabia are calling for harsher punishments for child abuse after reports that a prominent cleric received only a light sentence after confessing to the beating death of his 5-year-old daughter.

The Associated Press

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia —

Online activists in Saudi Arabia are calling for harsher punishments for child abuse after reports that a prominent cleric received only a light sentence after confessing to the beating death of his 5-year-old daughter.

The social media campaign gaining momentum Sunday 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 say he was freed last week 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.

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