Saudi Girl, Aged 12, Refuses To Divorce Her 80-Year-Old Husband

A 12-year-old Saudi girl unexpectedly gave up her petition for divorce from an 80-year-old man her father forced her to marry in exchange for a dowry, Saudi media reported Tuesday.

Despite support from human rights lawyers and child welfare advocates, the girl and her mother, who originally sought the divorce, withdrew the case Monday in a court in Buraidah, in Al-Qasim province, newspapers 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, AFP reports.

Reports in the Saudi media say the girl told the court she didn't wish to disobey her father, who had arranged the marriage in return for a dowry of about $25,000.

The case has attracted considerable attention in Saudi Arabia, where the issue of child marriage is becoming increasingly controversial, Australia Network News reports.

The lawyer of the girl, Salah al-Dabibi, quoted by Al-Riyadh, said he was "disgusted" by this reversal, and did not exclude pressure on the mother and the child.

A princess who heads an association for defense of divorced women, Sarra Bent Messaed Ben Abdel Aziz, called on King Abdullah to intervene to prevent child marriage, according to the Ennahar.

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