Yemen Official: Time to End Child Marriages

Questions remain over case of girl who reportedly died

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff | Suggested by Ghille

Posted Sep 17, 2013 2:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – Local officials continue to insist the story of an 8-year-old child bride in Yemen who died of internal injuries on her wedding night is not true—but even so, outrage over the incident continues to grow, and now Yemen's human rights minister says the country must put a stop to child marriage. "It's time to end this practice," Hooria Mashhour tells CNN. She's not convinced the story of the 8-year-old is a hoax, either. "I personally have [talked to] the human rights coordinator for the ministry on the ground in Haradh," where the incident supposedly took place, "and he informed me that nearly everyone he spoke to is denying the story, but he feels strongly suspicious," Mashhour says. "We feel people may be hiding information due to fear."

CNN also spoke to locals, who said they'd been ordered to stop talking to reporters about the case and insisted officials are downplaying the incident. But the head of the police department says he's seen the girl, and she's fine. A Yemeni child rights advocate says many questions about exactly what happened persist, and he's continuing to look into the case. "The government is informing us that the [child] is in their custody and still alive, while other local sources are saying that she was secretly buried," he says. "The government is refusing to allow us to visit the girl in their custody."

Yemeni women hold up the Quran and Arabic placard reading "yes to the legal rights of the Muslim woman" as they take part in a protest outside the parliament in San'a, Sunday, March 21, 2010.   (AP Photo)
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