A 70-year-old Saudi Arabia man has decided to divorce his 15-year-old bride amid public scrutiny. The groom claims that her family committed fraud, stating the girl was 25-years-old, and he alleges that he was tricked into paying a $20,000 dowry.
Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission has also started an investigation in the case because they believe the family sold the girl to the man. There is no law that stipulates a minimum age requirement for marriage. The man has broken no laws, but the human rights activists are outraged.
“A divorce has taken place,” Dr. Bandar Alaiban, the commission’s president, said in a statement, “and the dispute has now been resolved amicably.”
Alaiban claims that a meeting took place with the parents, man and the 15-year-old girl. There is mounting evidence that the girl ran away and returned home.
In addition, the commission said they believe the man is 86, not 70.
“When you consider the very large difference in age, it looks more like this was not a marriage, but like the girl was sold,” Dr. Suhaila Zein al-Abedin of the Saudi National Association for Human Rights said. “The girl’s parents need to be held responsible for this.”
“It’s only when there’s enough public outrage that we can fight #childmarriage. We are not angry enough to help that 15 y/o and others like her,” Prominent Egyptian activist Mona Eltahawy stated.
After learning of the marriage last week, the commission sent an investigator to the 15-year-old girl’s home in Al-Hurath village in Jizan province, in southwestern Saudi Arabia near the border with Yemen.