No Divorce for 8-Year-Old Girl

Published April 15, 2009

For the second time, a Saudi judge has refused to let an 8-year-old girl divorce her 47-year-old husband.

Judge Sheikh Habib Habib ruled that the girl, who was married off by her father, is in a marriage that is legal and binding, noting that the child wife could file for divorce once she reached puberty, CNN reported. The divorce plea was first 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.

The father apparently brokered the deal to sell off his daughter to settle his debts with the man, who is “a close friend.” Relatives said the marriage had not yet been consummated, and that the father had set a verbal condition by which the marriage is not to be consummated for another 10 years, when the girl turns 18.

Saudi Arabia is a patriarchal society that applies an austere form of Sunni Islam that bans unrelated men and women from mixing and gives fathers the right to wed their sons and daughters to anyone they deem fit.

An unnamed relative of the girl said the girl's mother, who is divorced from the father, will continue to seek to overturn the marriage. An appeals court in Riyadh will reportedly consider the case again in a hearing set for next month.

Written by BET.com Staff

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