Monday, February 9

Man, 47 "marries" girl, 8

A Saudi judge recently refused to annul a marriage between an 8-year-old girl and a 47-year-old man -- a union apparently arranged by the girl's father to settle his debts -- a lawyer in the case told CNN.

On Saturday, the judge, Sheikh Habib Abdallah al-Habib, dismissed a petition brought by the girl's mother because she "is not the legal guardian of the girl," the woman's lawyer Abdullah al-Jutaili said.

"Therefore, she cannot represent her daughter in these proceedings," al-Jutaili said.

Her parents are separated, he said.

According to the lawyer, the girl's father arranged the marriage in order to settle his debts with the man, who is "a close friend" of his.

The judge did ask for a pledge from the husband, who was in court, not to consummate the marriage until the girl reaches puberty, according to al-Jutaili.

The judge ruled that when the girl reaches puberty, she will have the right to request a divorce by filing a petition with the court, the lawyer said.
Too young to be a mother, but old enough to be a wife, the refusal of Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, to annul the marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a 47-year-old man has triggered intense debate this week inside the very conservative kingdom.

"It is incorrect to say that it's not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger," Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, said Wednesday, Jan. 14, in the regional Al-Hayat newspaper. "A girl aged ten or twelve can be married. Those who think she's too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her."
But Rick Warren thinks we mustn't change the "5,000 year-old definition of marriage".

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