Eight-year-old files for divorce in Saudi Arabia

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The Independent Online

riyadh An eight-year-old girl from Saudi Arabia has divorced her middle-aged husband after her father forced her to marry him last year in exchange for about £9000, her lawyer said.

The girl was allowed to divorce the 50-year-old man, who she married in August, after an reaching an out-of-court settlement, her lawyer, Abdulla al-Jeteli, said yesterday. The date that the divorce will take effect was not immediately known.

A court in the central Oneiza region of the country had previously rejected a request by the girl's mother for a divorce and ruled that the girl would have to wait until she reached puberty to file a petition. It was not clear if the man received money for the divorce settlement.

The man had given the girl's father 50,000 riyals, or about £9000, as a marriage gift in return for his daughter, the lawyer said. There are no laws in Saudi Arabia that set a minimum age for marriage. And while a woman's consent is legally required, some marriage officials do not seek it.