ONAIZA – The arranged marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a 50-year-old man, who has two other wives, has been annulled in an out-of-court settlement, court sources said Wednesday.
The settlement, mediated by a new judge at the court, was not without lengthy negotiations between the girl’s lawyer and the husband who clung on to the legality of the marriage until the end of the working day, when he finally agreed to divorce the child wife.
The parties involved were tight-lipped about the settlement. The lawyer, who was hired by the girl’s mother, was not allowed to talk about the settlement to the media until an official announcement of the divorce.
The previous judge in the case, Sheikh Habib Al-Habib, had first refused to annul the marriage last year. But he later said he would reconsider the case upon the girl’s appeal on reaching the age of puberty or upon her mother’s appeal.
Earlier this month, Sheikh Al-Habib ruled for the second time that the girl’s marriage to a friend of her father’s was legal and binding. The father is said to have married off his girl to his close friend to pay off a debt.
The divorce settlement will hence annul Sheikh Al-Habib’s verdict on the case that is being reviewed by the Court of Cassations.
The case has attracted the attention of human rights bodies and the media. – Okaz/SG