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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yemeni court terminates marriage of 8 year-old

Good news from Yemen, in a follow-up to the sick story I posted a couple of days ago:
A Yemeni court yesterday granted divorce to an eight-year-old girl who sought the help of a court judge to terminate her marriage two months after she was forced into it.

Nojoud Muhammad Nasser lodged a complaint at a court in the capital Sanaa last week against her father who forced her to marry a man 22 years her senior, and asked the judge to secure her divorce.

The girl’s lawyer and human rights activist, Shadha Nasser, said that the court “ordered the marriage to be terminated immediately because she was underage and had not reached puberty.”

The court also ordered the child’s family to pay 50,000 Yemeni rials (about $250) in compensation to the 30-year-old ex-husband.

The amount was paid by a volunteer who was attending the trial, the lawyer said, adding that the compensation was toward the dowry the husband had paid to the girl’s father.

The ruling terminated the marriage instead of granting a divorce to prevent the husband from seeking to reinstate the marriage, according to the lawyer.

Nasser, a human rights activist, said the minor had filed a suit asking for divorce and told the court that her husband had been physically abusing her and forcing her to have “sex with him after hitting her.”

Last week, the court ordered the father and husband to be arrested after hearing the girl’s testimony. The father was later released due to health problems.

Now, if they can put a little sanity in the female genital mutilation depravity....