Saudi Arabia: Young woman married at 10 years old must pay for divorce

A 23 year old woman, forced to marry at ten in Saudi Arabia, was ordered to pay the equivalent of 16,750 euros to obtain a divorce from her husband, according to Saudi daily al-Watan.
The girl, deemed as a 'rebel' by a judge in the capital, Riyadh, was forced to marry a 67-year-old man due to her family's economic problems, in exchange for a dowry of 100,000 Saudi riyals (16,750 euros).
According to the judge, the girl does not have any grounds for divorce, but if she wants to divorce the husband, she must return the dowry given to the family 13 years ago.

The father of the girl, regrets having married his daughter so young, saying "I made a mistake by forcing my daughter to marry. If she wants to re-marry, it will be her decision who to do it with."

The father of the 23-year-old woman also pleaded for help in order to collect the 100,000 riyal dowry that must be returned.

"I ask those who have the possibility to help my daughter to find the money needed to return the dowry. I cannot help her because our family does not have the economic means," concluded the father.

On Wednesday, a court in neighbouring Yemen annulled the marriage of an eight-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man. The girl alleged her husband had beaten and raped her although under Yemeni law a groom is not allowed to have sex with his child bride until she reaches puberty. Yemen is one of the world's poorest countries.

18 April 2008