April 15, 2008 / 5:22 PM / 12 years ago

Court terminates 8-year-old girl's marriage

SANAA (Reuters) - A Yemeni court ordered the marriage of an eight-year-old girl terminated on Tuesday because she had not reached puberty.

The court also ordered the child’s family to pay about $250 in compensation to the 30-year-old ex-husband.

The girl’s lawyer and human rights activist Shatha Nasser said the minor had filed a suit in April asking for divorce and told the court that her husband had been physically abusing her and forcing her to have “sex with him after hitting her.”

One of the people attending the trial volunteered to pay the compensation, the lawyer said, but did not explain the reason why the court ordered the compensation.

The ruling terminated the marriage instead of granting a divorce to prevent the husband from seeking to reinstate the marriage, according to the lawyer.

Many minor girls in Arab countries that observe tribal traditions are married to older husbands but not before puberty. Such marriages are also driven by poverty in countries like Yemen, one of the poorest countries outside Africa.

Reporting by Mohamed Sudam; writing by Inal Ersan

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