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  Wednesday, June 19, 2019
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A court in Yemen has annulled an arranged marriage between
A court in Yemen has annulled an arranged marriage between an 8 year-old girl and a man 22 years her senior, the Yemeni Times newspaper said.

Nojoud Muhammed Nasser, who is in the second grade at primary school, filed for divorce from her 30-year-old husband, Faez Ali Thamer in April, stating she was forced into signing a marriage contract by her parents.

"My father beat me and told me that I must marry this man, and if I did not, I would be raped and no law and no sheikh in this country would help me," Nojoud testified in court: "They asked me to sign the marriage contract and remain in my father's house until I was 18. But a week after signing, my father and my mother forced me to go live with him."

"Whenever I wanted to play in the yard he beat me and asked me to go to the bedroom with him," she went on.

Nojoud's ex-husband admitted beating her and having sex, but said: "I have done nothing wrong, as she is my wife and I have the right."

The girl eventually ran away and applied to the court for a divorce petition. The court annulled the marriage instead of simply issuing a divorce to prevent reinstatement claims from Thamer.

"I am happy that I am divorced now. I will be able to go back to school," the girl told journalists after the court case.

Her lawyer said the girl will never return to her parents, and will live with her uncle, who became Nojoud's guardian after her father and husband were arrested.

The case of Nojoud, the first of its kind in Yemen, has sparked controversy around the 1998 amendment to Yemeni law which banned marriage between couples under 15. The amendment permitted parents to conclude marriage contracts between minors as long as the couple does not have sexual relations until they reach 15.


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