Saudi Arabian Girl Wins Divorce

An eight-year-old Saudi Arabian girl has divorced her 47 year-old husband in an arrangement made out of court. Saudi Arabian judge Sheikh Habib Al-Habib twice refused to annul the girl’s arranged marriage on the condition that the marriage not be consummated until she reached puberty. After the divorce agreement was made, a new judge formally annulled the marriage, according to the BBC.

The marriage between the girl and a 47 year-old man was arranged by her father to settle a debt. The girl’s parents are divorced and her mother originally filed to have the marriage annulled last year after discovering the marriage contract had been made without her knowledge, according to Al Arabiya. This petition was dismissed because the girl’s mother is not her legal guardian.

The case prompted the announcement of plans to enact laws regulating child marriages in the country by Saudi Arabian Justice Minister Muhammad Al-Issa. The judge has said the new laws will regulate child marriage in order to prevent child abuse, but did not indicate whether new laws would illegalize the practice, according to CNN. A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission said last year that “child marriages violate international agreements that have been signed by Saudi Arabia and should not be allowed,” according to CNN.


BBC 4/30/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/13/09, 4/16/09; CNN 4/12/09, 4/15/09

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