Girl, 8, granted divorce in Yemen
- April 17, 2008 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)Girl, 8, granted divorce in YemenSAN'A, Yemen (AP) -- A Yemeni judge dissolved the marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a man nearly four times her age, and the girl's lawyer said Wednesday that the court also ordered the youngster removed from the control of the father who forced her into the wedding.The lawyer, Shatha Ali Nasser, said the girl is just one of thousands of underaged girls who have been forced into marriages in this poor tribal country at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.The girl's story has drawn headlines in Yemen because she took the unusual step of seeking out a judge on her own to file for divorce.She recounted her ordeal to reporters Wednesday, a day after the judge in San'a ended the two-month marriage. Judge Mohammed al-Qady said he had been moved by the girl's plight from the start.The girl said her father forced her to marry a 30-year-old man she identified as Faiz Ali Thamer. She charged that her husband constantly beat her and forced her to have sex."I used to run from room to room to escape from him. But he would catch up with me," the girl said, her tiny frame swallowed in an oversized robe and head scarf, standing with her lawyer.In issuing his ruling Tuesday, the judge said he was terminating the marriage because the girl "had not reached puberty."A provision in Yemeni law allows parents to sign marriage contracts for children younger than 15. However, the article states that a husband can only consummate the marriage when the wife reaches puberty."We know that this is not what happened" in the girl's case, her lawyer said.There are no provisions for any punishment for a husband in such cases.The girl's name isn't disclosed in line with Associated Press policy on sexually related cases.She said that when she told her parents of the abuse, they refused to help her. Her parents testified they ignored her complaints about the marriage.The girl's family was ordered to pay $250 as "compensation" to Thamer, although the judge did not specify the reason.