Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eight-Year-Old Granted a Divorce

She's now free to enjoy third grade.
AN eight-year-old Saudi girl who was sold into marriage by her father has been given a divorce after an international outcry over the case, Saudi media reports.

The marriage of the girl to a man reportedly in his 50s was annulled on Wednesday in out-of-court settlement overseen by a new judge in the city of Onaiza, after the original judge in the case refused to bend to pressure to grant the divorce, several newspapers reported.

Riyadh newspaper said the settlement was reached after the intervention in the case by an unidentified "important personality".

The girl's father had sold her last year to the man in exchange for a dowry.

When her mother found out, she petitioned the court for a divorce for the girl.

The judge twice rejected her case - though he stipulated that the marriage could only be consummated after the girl attained puberty.

An appeals court sent the case back to the judge suggesting he reconsider, but he ruled again last week against divorce.

The case garnered strong criticism from international rights groups and foreign diplomats raised the issue quietly with the Saudi government, according to AFP sources.

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