Iraqi court may permit marriage of 12-year-old girl whose mother says was raped and kidnapped

Rights groups say marriages of minors ‘happen regularly’

Shweta Sharma
Monday 22 November 2021 11:49
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<p>Women demonstrate near the Kadhimiya court in Iraq's capital Baghdad in protest against the legalisation of a marriage contract for a 12-year-old girl</p>

Women demonstrate near the Kadhimiya court in Iraq's capital Baghdad in protest against the legalisation of a marriage contract for a 12-year-old girl

Protests have taken place outside an Iraqi court which was hearing a case into whether to allow the marriage of a 12-year-old girl to a man, 25.

The case has sparked fury in Iraq, after the girl’s plight was highlighted on social media.

The hearing, in Kadhimiya, south of Baghdad, was adjourned to next week following anger over the case. Activists protested with banners reading “the marriage of minors is a crime against childhood”, after the girl’s mother pleaded for help to halt the wedding.

According to the mother, the young girl was married to her stepmother’s brother, reported Al Bawaba.

She was married despite the legal age of marriage in Iraq being 18, but which can be lowered to 15 in cases of parental or judicial consent, according to charity Save the Children.

The hearing was postponed amid protest by women and child rights activists outside court

"Religious marriages are not permitted outside civil or religious courts but these types of marriages still happen regularly and can be formalised on the payment of a small fine," it said in a recent report, according to AFP.

The mother has urged the court to annul the marriage, in order to provide a “normal life” for her daughter.

Speaking to Fallujah TV, the mother also claimed that her daughter had been “raped” by the man who could soon become her husband, after first being “kidnapped” by her father. The parents of the 12-year-old have subsequently separated.

The case has triggered an uproar on Iraqi social media since videos of the desperate mother crying and pleading for help went viral.

However, the interior ministry for violence against women said in a statement to AFP that its officials had been assured that the girl was not being coerced into marriage.

The case will now be heard on 28 November.

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