Saudi Arabia: Saudi man 'wins' 10-yr-old bride; marriage postponed

Al-Arabiya / Arab News
The marriage between a 60-year-old man and a 10-year-old girl he 'won' in a bet has been postponed after protests from human rights groups.
A 60-year old Saudi man who was set to marry a 10-year old girl—he 'won' in a bet with her father—has postponed his marriage after protests from human rights groups, press reports revealed.
The fate of the little girl was decided after her father dared the elderly man to marry a second wife and teased him about being afraid of his current wife. The elderly man accepted the challenge and asked for his daughter's hand in marriage, Saudi newspaper Al-Madina reported.

The father couldn't retract the challenge and accepted the proposal, asking for a 100,000 riyal dowry, the paper said, adding the two men finalized the marriage procedures and the couple even underwent pre-marital tests, which shocked staff at the lab.

The Saudi National Human Rights Association sent a letter to the Emir of the northwestern city Hail, where the girl lives, and to court to stop the union.

The Association stated that the union is in violation of the international treaty for the protection of children from early marriages, of which Saudi Arabia is a signatory.

The residents of Hail shared the same sentiments and were actually the ones who demanded that the Association intercede to stop the marriage.

Last March, the Association stopped the marriage of a 12-year old boy and his 11-year old cousin in the southwestern province of Jizan.

Saudi sociologist Abdullah Al-Harbi said that in these kinds of marriages the father technically sells his daughter, since the groom-to-be usually pays huge amounts of money to marry a younger girl to "satisfy his sexual desires."

"These marriages usually end up in failure, and the girl usually goes through trauma due to living with a man who is much older," he said.

20 July 2008

Source: Al-Arabiya