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Thu 9 Jul 2009 09:14 AM

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Human rights group declares Saudi child marriage void

National Human Rights Society forced to intervene in marriage of 11-year-old girl.

Human rights group declares Saudi child marriage void
WEDDING VOWS: Saudi officials are considering a ban on marriages under the age of 18. (Getty Images)

A marriage between an 11-year-old girl and a 40 year-old man in Saudi Arabia has been declared null and void, it has been reported.

The kingdom’s National Human Rights Society was forced to intervene to annul the marriage after a petition was lodged by the child’s brothers and sister, Gulf News reported.

"Our 65-year-old father is adamant in his decision to get married their sister to the man after arranging a huge amount of money and a car as dowry," the siblings said in the petition.

Dr Hussain Al Sharif, director of the National Human Rights Society, told the paper it had managed to secure an undertaking from the girl’s father not to marry the girl until she reaches 18.

The father had also married off his eldest daughter when she was 11, the paper reported. She was now aged 20 and divorced.

Recent publicity surrounding the marriages of young girls in the kingdom have spurred authorities to consider enacting a law to ban marriages before the age of 18, the paper said.

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