A 90-year-old Saudi Arabian man is suing the family of his 15-year-old child-bride after she shut herself in her bedroom on their wedding night.
The terrified teen locked the door from the inside so that her new husband could not enter on their first night as a married couple, and two days later she fled back to her parents’ home.
Now her elderly husband wants his money back as he claims he paid the parents £10,767 ($17,500) for the teenager so they could wed.
Against her will: The 15-year-old Saudi girl locked herself in her bedroom on the night of her wedding to a 90-year-old man
The 90-year-old said he paid the dowry to the young girl’s Saudi mother and Yemeni father, making the marriage ‘legal and correct’, Al Arabiya reported.
The 15-year-old’s arranged marriage sparked outrage and widespread condemnation in Saudi Arabia where activists took to Twitter calling it child trafficking and prostitution.
A Mouhammad Khaled Alnuzha posted on his account: ‘Is this a case of human trafficking crimes punishable by law?’
Too young: Child marriage is common in sub-Saharan Africa and south-east Asia
Another Tweeted: ‘She is still considered as a product! A father sells his daughter without mercy, to be bought by money and status and power; all of it for the sake of fulfilling a desire.’
A member of the Saudi National Association for Human Rights (NSHR), Suhaila Zein el-Abedin urged authorities to ‘save this child from tragedy,’ adding that marriage in Islam must be based on mutual consent.
She also blamed the girls parents for accepting the dowry and marrying off their daughter to a man 75 years older than her, underlining the importance of establishing a minimum age of 18 for marriage in Saudi Arabia.
A CONTROVERSIAL TRADITION AFFECTING THOUSANDS
Child marriage have both male and female victims, however the number of female victims is disproportionate to male as it is tradition in countries which practice child marriage that young girls are married off to older men.
Marriage of young girls is most common in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In Niger, 77 per cent of 20- to 24-year-old women were married before the age of 18. In Bangladesh, this rate was 65 per cent.
UNICEF global figures from 2009 show that 36 per cent of women aged 20–24 were married or in union before they reached 18 and the latest numbers estimates 51 million of girls under 18 are married world-wide.
In the UK an estimated 1,000 out of 8,000 forced marriages every year involve a person under the age of 15.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 states that marriage ‘shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending parties.’