Saudi Arabia: 90-yo man pays $17,500 for 15-yo runaway bride

Saudi National Society for Human Rights calls for end to dowries

07 January, 19:35

(ANSAmed) - ROME, JANUARY 7 - The recent marriage of a 90-year-old Saudi man to a 15-year-old girl sparked condemnation from the Saudi National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) and activists on Twitter, local media reported Monday.

The groom told al-Hayat daily that his marriage was ''legal and correct,'' and that he paid a dowry of $17,500 (SAR 65,000) to marry the girl, who is the daughter of a Yemeni father and Saudi mother.

The man went on to say that on their wedding night, the child bride entered the bedroom before him, locking herself in. This made him ''suspicious about some kind of conspiracy'' by the girl and her mother, the man reportedly said.

Close friends of the bride's family said she was so frightened she locked herself in for two days before fleeing back to her parents' home. The groom vowed to sue his in-laws to give him back the girl or return him the expensive dowry he paid.

NSHR member Suhaila Zein el-Abedin urged authorities to intervene ''as soon as possible to save this child from tragedy.'' El-Abedin noted that marriage in Islam must be based on mutual consent and this was not satisfied as demonstrated by the girl's move to lock herself in. She also said the girl's parents must be held responsible for marrying their daughter to a man ''the age of her great-grandfather.'' She also called on authorities to set a minimum legal marriage and to ban the sale of women in marriage, saying this will pave the way for punishing violators. (ANSAmed).

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