70-year old Saudi man divorces teen wife

Union sparked international condemnation over Saudi Arabia’s marriage laws

(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes)

(Getty Images - for illustrative purposes)

A 70-year old Saudi Arabian man has divorced his teenage wife, the Gulf kingdom's Human Rights Commission told CNN.

The man was the focus of outrage this week after it emerged he paid the bride’s family US$20,000 dowry but then complained he had been duped after they took her back days later.

“A divorce has taken place,” Dr Bandar Alaiban, president of HRC told CNN. “The dispute has now been resolved amicably.”

The union came to public attention after the man complained to officials that he had been ripped off after his new bride fled to her parents’ home, said to be in Jizan province, south-western Saudi Arabia. He said the bride’s parents had deliberately set him up to get his money.

The man, who has not be named, on Wednesday insisted his bride is 25 years old and old enough to make her own decisions. 

“She is not 15 as everybody claims,” he told CNN. “She’s 25 years old and she’s mature enough to make her own decisions... I was fooled by the girl’s family,” he added.

Reports of the marriage have sparked international condemnation from human rights groups about Saudi Arabia’s marriage law, which does not stipulate a minimum age for marriage and grants fathers guardianship over daughters, giving them control over who they can marry and when.

Reports in local newspapers last year said Saudi Arabia is edging closer to setting a minimum age for marriages but there have been no indications of any changes since.

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