Saudis horrified after father tortures newborn on video

Saudis horrified after father tortures newborn on video
Social media users in Saudi Arabia have saved a newborn baby from her abusive father after a video of him torturing her went viral in the kingdom.
2 min read
12 Jan, 2017
Social workers have rescued the baby from her abusive father [YouTube]

Social media users in Saudi Arabia were in an uproar on Wednesday after a horrific video showing a father brutally beating his newborn daughter was circulated online.

The video shows the father, identified in Saudi media as Ahmed Basim Haraka, strangling and slapping the newborn across the face to spite his Syrian ex-wife.

The ex-wife, Nariman Kallas, said she had suffered years of domestic abuse at the hands of her former husband, who had forged their marriage contract.

"I was married to him for four years while I waited for him to obtain real marriage documents… he used to beat me and my daughter and our three-year-old child," Kallas told Al-Arabiya.

She explained that she was only granted a divorce after she agreed to relinquish custody of her youngest daughter

"He asked he to go back to him, I refused… so he started sending me pictures and videos of him torturing my daughter. He told me: 'either you come back or I'll kill her'," she added.

In response, the horrified mother shared the videos on Twitter to expose the abusive father and seek help from the public and authorities, creating uproar online.

Saudi social media users quickly launched an online awareness campaign using an Arabic-language hashtag that means "a mother wants her baby in her embrace" to ensure the father was brought to justice.

"A scene that brings shivers to my spine. The most severe punishment must be handed out and him and people like him," said one user.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development on Wednesday said it had located the abused newborn and taken her into the care of protective services, where she will undergo a medical examination.

A video of the young victim was later shared on social media, showing her babbling and smiling in the safe arms of a female social worker to the relief of many online.

"Thank God the baby has been returned to her mother by a military guard," said one Twitter user.

Police in Mecca announced on Wednesday evening that they had arrested the abusive father.