Saudi girl, 12, drops push to divorce octogenarian

Despite support from human rights lawyers and child welfare advocates, the girl and her mother, who originally sought the divorce, withdrew the case on Monday in a
court in Buraidah, in Al-Qasim province, newspaper reports  said.
The girl told the court that her marriage to the man was done with her agreement, according to “Okaz” newspaper.

“I agree to the marriage. I have no objection. This is in filial respect to my father and obedience to his wish,” she said. Saleh al-Dabibi, a lawyer appointed by a charity group to help the girl, said her mother did not inform him of the change of heart, the newspaper said.

An unnamed official of the government’s Human Rights Commission, which was originally asked by the mother to help in getting the marriage annulled, told “Arab News” that they too were surprised by the decision of the mother and daughter.
The influential daughter of King Abdullah, Princess Adela bint Abdullah, expressed concern over the girl’s marriage.
“I, personally, and many specialists in social and education fields, share the opinion that it is in violation of children’s rights,” “Al-Riyadh” newspaper quoted Princess Adela bint Abdullah as saying.

 According to reports, the girl’s father, who is separated from her mother, arranged her marriage to the 80-year-old in last September in exchange for a dowry payment of 85,000 riyals ($22,667).
The case caused an uproar after “Al-Riyadh” newspaper first reported it in early January, saying the marriage had been consummated and quoting the girl as pleading to the journalist to save her.

Her mother, who is unidentified in local reports, petitioned the court to annul the marriage and charged that the girl had been raped.
The case was to be heard on Monday, but reports said the mother dropped the complaint ahead of the hearing.
Saudi Arabia has no law against child marriage, and clerics and religious judges justify the practice based on Islamic and Saudi tradition.

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