Saudi women sue guardians for not allowing them to marry

The kingdom’s human rights group says it’s imperative a law be passed to allow women to marry without parental permission after a certain age.

Twenty-three Saudi women have sued their guardians for refusing to let them get married, the kingdom’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has reportedly said.

The society has called on the government to allow women to get married without the permission of their family when they reach a certain age.

NSHR rights activist Suhaila Zain Al Abideen Hammad said it was “imperative” a law was introduced to protect women from being prevented from marrying.

She said the NSHR had recently dealt with cases where guardians refused to allow women under their care to marry because they disapproved of the suitors' tribe or believed he wanted to live on the woman's salary.

Hammad said not being allowed to marry could cause severe psychological trauma for women including depression, suicidal tendencies and drug addiction.

Saudi Arabia has strict laws based on Islam, which include many restrictions on women. The majority of marriages in the kingdom are arranged and women are expected to obtain their male guardian’s permission to marry.

In most cases, the couple are not allowed to spend much time together before marrying.

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