There is no legal age when it comes to marriage in Saudi Arabia. However, human right workers are outraged this time after a 70-year-old man reportedly married a 15-year-old girl.
According to the CNN report, the marriage became a controversial topic after the unnamed man officially filed a complaint that his teenager wife tricked him. The 70-year-old man revealed that his wife claimed she is already 25 years old when they got married. Also, the man told CNN that he even paid a dowry of $20,000 to the girl's parents.
"She is not 15 as everybody claims. She's 25 years old and she's mature enough to make her own decisions. I was fooled by the girl's family," the man stated. Local officials think that the teenager wife and elderly husband got into an argument which provoked the young wife to go back to her parents.
Dr. Hadi Al-Yami, Head of the Human Rights Commission Asir Branch, revealed the unnamed young girl is from the Al-Hurath village of Jizan province in southwestern Saudi Arabia close to the border of Yemen. Also, Dr. Al-Yami confirmed that the commission will offer help to the teenager and her family particularly legal help where the marriage will be formally dissolved.
Meanwhile, the controversial union provoked the members of the Human Rights Commission and other activist groups to have a law implementation that will indicate a minimum age requirement for marriage. The groups proposed that anyone below the age of 18 will get legal consent to marry.
Dr. Suhaila Zein al-Abedin of the Saudi National Association for Human Rights expressed concern not only with the huge age gap but the conditions of the marriage as well. "When you consider the very large difference in age, it looks more like this was not a marriage, but like the girl was sold. The girl's parents need to be held responsible for this," Dr. al-Abedin declared.
Some activists posted on the social networking site "Twitter" just to voice out their frustration over the serious matter. "It's only when there's enough public outrage that we can fight #childmarriage. We are not angry enough to help that 15 y/o & others like her," well-known Egyptian activist Mona Eltahawy posted on her Twitter account @monaeltahawy.
"#ChildMarriage is a result of dehumanizing female humans and degrading them to 'treats' in alleged paradise. Fight dehumanization!" Egyptian Kareem Bassem commented on @Kareemb_ Twitter account.