2 Feb 2013

Online campaign launched to protect children

5:10 am on 2 February 2013

An online campaign has been launched in Saudi Arabia to protect the rights of abused children.

The Twitter campaign was sparked by a recent case in which a girl, aged five, died after she was beaten by her father.

Lama was the daughter of Fayhan al-Ghamdi, an Islamic preacher who made regular appearances on TV in the kingdom.

He was arrested after Lama's death in November but was reportedly absolved by the judge in the case.

Saudi media reports said that Ghamdi had paid 200,000 riyals ($US50,000) in "blood money" to relatives, which, if accepted, can replace a death sentence.

The BBC reports the amount is half what would have been necessary if Lama had been male.

The Twitter campaign uses the hashtag "Ana Lama" (Arabic for "I am Lama") to demand legislation criminalising violence against women or children.

However, a BBC analyst said it's unlikely to have much effect. But Saudi authorities recently said a 24-hour hotline will be set up to take calls about child abuse.