Saudi Preteen Seeks Divorce From 80-Year-old Husband

Human Rights Commission backing girl

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 9, 2010 4:35 AM CST

(Newser) – A 12-year-old Saudi girl is seeking a divorce from her 80-year-old husband with the help of the state-run Human Rights Commission. The preteen was married last year to her elderly cousin against her and her mother's wishes in exchange for a $30,000 dowry. It's the first time the Saudi commission has publicly intervened in such a case, and it may signal the beginning of the end for child marriage in the nation. No minimum age currently exists for marriage.

Last year a judge refused to annul a marriage between an 8-year-old girl and a man in his 40s. Some Islamic clerics cite the Prophet Muhammad's marriage to a 9-year-old girl 14 centuries ago as justification for child marriage today. A ruling in the case is expected within days.

A Saudi couple buy a wedding dress at a shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
A Saudi couple buy a wedding dress at a shop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo)
The Saudi Human Rights Commission is helping a 12-year-old girl seeking a divorce from her 80-year-old husband.
The Saudi Human Rights Commission is helping a 12-year-old girl seeking a divorce from her 80-year-old husband.   (YouTube)
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