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Judge Denies 8-Year-Old to Divorce 47-Year-Old Husband

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CNN: A Saudi mother is expected to appeal a judge's ruling after he once again refused to let her 8-year-old daughter divorce a 47-year-old man, a relative said.

Sheikh Habib Al-Habib made the ruling Saturday in the Saudi city of Onaiza. Late last year, he rejected a petition to annul the marriage.

The case, which has drawn criticism from local and international rights groups, came to light in December when Al-Habib declined to annul the marriage on a legal technicality. His dismissal of the mother's petition sparked outrage and made headlines around the world.

The judge said the mother, who is separated from the girl's father, was not the legal guardian and therefore could not represent her daughter, the mother's lawyer, Abdullah al-Jutaili, said at the time.

The girl's husband pledged not to consummate the marriage until the girl reaches puberty, according to al-Jutaili, who added that the girl's father arranged the marriage to settle his debts with the man, who is considered "a close friend."

In March, an appeals court in the Saudi capital of Riyadh declined to certify the original ruling, in essence rejecting al-Habib's verdict, and sent the case back to al-Habib for reconsideration.

Under the Saudi legal process, the appeals court ruling meant that the marriage was still in effect, but that a challenge to the marriage was still ongoing.

The relative, who said the girl's mother will continue to pursue a divorce, told CNN the judge "stuck by his earlier verdict and insisted that the girl could petition the court for a divorce once she reached puberty."

The appeals court in Riyadh will take up the case again and a hearing is scheduled for next month, according to the relative.

Child marriages have made news in Saudi Arabia in the past year.

In a statement issued shortly after the original verdict, the Society of Defending Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia said the judge's decision went against children's "basic rights."

Marrying children makes them "lose their sense of security and safety," the group said. "Also, it destroys their feeling of being loved and nurtured. It causes them a lifetime of psychological problems and severe depression."

Zuhair al-Harithi, a spokesman for the Saudi Human Rights Commission, a government-run group, told CNN that his organization was fighting child marriages.

"Child marriages violate international agreements that have been signed by Saudi Arabia and should not be allowed," al-Harithi said.

Child marriage is not unusual, said Christoph Wilcke, a Saudi Arabian researcher for the international group Human Rights Watch, after the initial verdict.

"We've been hearing about these types of cases once every four or five months because the Saudi public is now able to express this kind of anger, especially so when girls are traded off to older men," Wilcke told CNN.

next: Father Owes $500,000 in Child Support
18 comments so far | Post a comment now
ashley April 12, 2009, 11:46 AM

That makes me sick that a father would trade off his own baby girl!!!! I am glad the mother is trying to get her back. I would do anything, maybe even steal her back. This is just awful!!

Anonymous April 12, 2009, 4:48 PM

Talk about a fhucked up society of people. Especially the males.

Anonymous April 12, 2009, 7:49 PM

These ragheads have been in the sun too long! Why in GODS name would … never mind WE know what was going on in his perverted head. He should be castrated and the father should commit suicide.

Anonymous April 12, 2009, 8:56 PM

What happens if this is still going on when she hits puberty? That is rape. She my be young when it happens. Girls can begin puberty as early as 9. She will not understand. The stupid judge should look over technicalities and call it what it is: RAPE!

Anonymous April 12, 2009, 9:10 PM

that guy deserves to everybody part cut off and him alive to watch it happen

Lissa April 12, 2009, 9:59 PM

That is SICK what animal would take a child as a payment anyway..the father needs to be locked up.And we are critcized for our system,the devil sure is working here and all over there world.May god bless them,I pray those innocent children get justice.Those men need to be castrated…how in the hell can a child turn someone on…sick..thaey cannot find a real woman to put up with thier nasty ways,that’s why.People are going to hell I tell ya.

clr April 12, 2009, 11:18 PM

So - Obama’s girls are now of age to be married. He must agree with this - after all he bowed down to the King of the Saudi’s now didn’t he? Pathetic wimp of a President shows himself to be lower to the King of the Govt that allows this to occur.

Militarymale April 13, 2009, 6:28 AM

Here is a note:

Our president bowed to a country that allows this.

Courtesy or not you didnt give that respect to England you practically kissed his feet. Commander and Chief of what…… didnt even serve.

way to go.

JR April 13, 2009, 8:02 AM

More evidence of just how backward the Arab world is.

backatcha April 14, 2009, 2:44 AM

Leave Obama out of it!!U obviously have issues with the guy.You may have issues with someones beliefs & opinions,but still be amicable with the person.Its called DIPLOMACY.Now leave Sasha & Malia out of it.They’ve done you no wrong

Cora April 15, 2009, 10:02 AM

A 58 agrees to marry an 8 year old. That right there tells us he’s a pedophile. Anyone else think that it’s highly unlikely that a pedophile is going to stick to an agreement not to touch his child bride for how ever many years until puberty? That agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, and the judge knows it.

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