Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested and handed over to prosecutors a man accused of torturing his 5-year-old daughter to death, a case that has shaken social networks in this Arab country.

The local daily Al Okath said Monday, citing human-rights activists, that the man identified as Faihan al Gameri is a former drug addict who won a certain popularity in this country by appearing on television programs to relate his story of repentance.

According to the newspaper, the girl Lama, 5, died in hospital from an internal hemorrhage caused by a skull fracture, and also showed injuries to other parts of her body as a result of the beating her father gave her, even burning her with a hot iron.

Lama's mother said her father had been mistreating the girl for eight months, scorching her body with the iron because "he had suspicions about his daughter's behavior."

Violence to children is a growing concern in Saudi Arabia, according to a study published in 2010 by the Social Affairs Ministry in this country, where 45 percent of children are victims of some kind of abuse.

In three out of every four cases, the violence is inflicted by the parents. EFE sa-na/cd