Saudi court denies girl aged 8-years-old divorce from husband who is 58

December 22, 2008

Saudi Arabia (ChattahBox) — Okay tell me “other countries” – “other ways,” if you like but to me this is ridiculous. An eight-year-old girl married off by her father to a man who is 58 cannot get a divorce  according to a Saudi court, who says she should wait until shes reaches puberty before making such a decision.  Not old enough to make such choices but old enough to marry? The divorce plea was filed by the girl’s divorced mother with a court at Unayzah in August, just after the marriage contract was signed by the father and the groom.

Apparently there were some verbal rules put in place to protect the daughter prior to the marriage. Relatives said that the marriage had not yet been consummated, and that that the father had set a verbal condition by which the marriage is not consummated for another 10 years, when the girl turns 18. In the meantime the girl supposedly continues to live with her mother. The father apparently brokered the deal to sell off his daughter for an advance dowry of £5,000, as he was apparently facing financial problems, they said. The father was in court and he remained adamant in favour of the marriage, they added.

The girl who was about to begin her fourth year at primary school apparently doesn’t understand yet that she has been married. Lawyer Abdullar Jtili said:”The judge has dismissed the plea, filed by the mother, because she does not have the right to file such a case, and ordered that the plea should be filed by the girl herself when she reaches puberty.

Mr Jtili said he was going to appeal the verdict at the court of cassation, the supreme court in the ultra-conservative kingdom which applies Islamic Sharia law in its courts. Arranged marriages involving pre-adolescents are more likely to happen in the Arabian Peninsula, including in Saudi Arabia where the strict conservative Wahabi version of Sunni Islam holds sway and polygamy is common. In Yemen in April, another girl aged eight was granted a divorce after her unemployed father forced her to marry a man of 28.


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