Saudi man burns the hands and feet of his nine children with iron for 100 Riyals
Saudi man burns the hands and feet of his nine children with iron for 100 RiyalsReuters

A Saudi man residing in Jeddah has been accused of torturing his nine children over some missing money. Claiming that one of his nine children had stolen his 100 Riyals ($27), the man used a hot iron to inflict punishment.

The heinous incident came to light when the principal of his eldest daughter's school enquired why she was walking barefoot, Gulf News reported. When she revealed that she was unable to bear the pain from the burn on her foot, the principal encouraged her to relate the entire story.

The girl narrated how her father had abused her and her eight siblings with a hot iron since 2 December after he was unable to find 100 Riyals. He burned their feet and hands, she said. The youngest daughter, barely three months old, was also not spared the torture.

The unemployed Saudi man receives a monthly assistance from the social solidarity programme, while his wife is the breadwinner of the family. She works at a school for a salary of 3,000 Riyals ($799) and is afraid to say anything against her husband for fear of getting divorced and splitting up the family.

In Saudi Arabia, men have a unilateral right to divorce their wives (talaq) without any legal justification and once the divorce is underway, they have automatic custody of sons from the age of seven and daughters from the age of nine.

The eldest daughter admitted that she would rather live with her mother than her violent father, who tortures her and her siblings regularly. Other sisters also confirmed that they had suffered their father's brutality, and that the violence at home was affecting their grades at school.

Salah Al Ghamdi, the head of Social Protection in Jeddah, confirmed the accusations of the Saudi man's daughters and said that they would meet with the father to hear his version before referring the case to the relevant authorities.

The principal had alerted the Social Protection care home in Jeddah about the tortures inflicted on the children, who in turn has referred them to King Fahd Hospital for check-ups. They will also be providing psychological and social support for the siblings who are aged between three months and 18 years. The nine siblings would also be given accommodation before being moved into a flat while authorities plan on procedures to protect them.