A Buraidah girl, 12, sent shockwaves through the courthouse here when she said that she accepted her marriage to an 80-year-old man because she wanted to obey the wishes of her father.So the mother, who previously appeared to be defending her daughter, now looks like she was just using her as a bargaining chip; she willingly sacrificed her daughter to be in a better legal position vis-a-vis her ex-husband.
The marriage has caused a great deal of controversy in the Kingdom and resulted in widespread condemnation from local and international human rights activists. The elderly man paid SR85,000 dowry which the father claims he is holding for his daughter.
The decision surprised Ibrahim Al-Amr, the judge of the General Court in Buraidah on Monday. Al-Amr was expected to issue a verdict in the matter when the girl made the announcement.
During the court session, she said: “The marriage took place with my consent and I accept him as my husband in obedience to my father.”
The child’s statement was not the only surprise of the day. The girl’s divorced mother also dropped a bombshell by withdrawing the lawsuit she had filed to annul her daughter’s marriage to the 80-year-old man.
The girl’s mother has now added a condition to the marriage, that her daughter must be allowed to complete her education and that her former husband should drop previous cases he had filed against her. Also, she stipulated that she be given custody over her son.