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Love, along with hush money and familial threats, conquers all
From Gulf Times:
Girl, 12, drops plea to divorce man, 80
A 12-year-old Saudi girl unexpectedly gave up her petition for divorce from an 80-year-old man her father forced her to marry in exchange for a dowry, Saudi media reported yesterday.
Despite support from human rights lawyers and child welfare advocates, the girl and her mother, who originally sought the divorce, withdrew the case on Monday in a court in Buraidah, in Al Qasim province, newspapers said.
The girl told the court that her marriage to the man was done with her agreement, according to Okaz newspaper. “I agree to the marriage. I have no objection. This is in filial respect to my father and obedience to his wish,” she said.
Saleh al-Dabibi, a lawyer supplied by a charity group to help the girl, said her mother did not inform him of the change of heart, Okaz said.
An unnamed official of the government’s Human Rights Commission, which was originally asked by the mother to help in getting the marriage annulled, told Arab News they too were surprised by the mother and daughter dropping the case.
The influential daughter of King Abdullah, Princess Adela bint Abdullah, expressed concern over the girl’s marriage.
“I, personally, and many specialists in social and education fields, share the opinion” that it is in violation of children’s rights, Al Riyadh newspaper reported.
For all the good it will do, it's still nice that Princess Adela bint Abdullah is willing to speak out to the degree that she is permitted.
“A child has the right to live her childhood and not be forced to get married. Even an adult would not accept that,” she said.
According to reports, the girl’s father, who is separated from her mother, arranged her marriage to the 80-year-old last September in exchange for a dowry payment of 85,000 riyals ($22,667).
The case caused an uproar after Al Riyadh first reported it in early January, saying the marriage had been consummated and quoting the girl as pleading to the journalist to “save me.”
Her mother petitioned the court to annul the marriage and charged that the girl had been raped.
The case was to be heard on Monday, but reports said the mother dropped the complaint ahead of the hearing.
Another life has been destroyed by mainstream Islamic teachings.