August 24, 2008

8-Year-Old Saudi Girl Seeks Divorce

An 8-year-old girl is pleading to a Saudi Arabian court for a divorce from a man in his 50s.

The girl was married off to the man without her knowledge, reported the Saudi newspaper al-Watan. The child's father was behind the marriage while her mother is now thought to be pushing for an annulment, the BBC reported Sunday.

Child-protection organizations say Saudi children are sometimes given away in return for large dowries, or as a result of beliefs that marriage to cousins or other known persons will protect young boys or girls from illicit relationships.

Last April, a court in neighboring Yemen annulled the arranged marriage of another 8-year-old girl to a 28-year-old man.