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The Mideast

Marriage of 90-year-old Saudi man, 15-year-old girl sparks controversy

While it’s not unusual for an older man to marry a younger wife in Saudi culture, the recent marriage of a 90-year-old Saudi man to a 15-year-old girl is raising human rights questions.   

In an interview with the Al Arabiya news channel, the elderly groom said his marriage was “legal and correct” and noted he paid the girl’s parents a $17,500 dowry.

But the man told the station that on the couple’s first night together, his new bride locked him out of their bedroom. Family friends said the teen was scared on her wedding night and locked herself  in the room for two straight days before fleeing to her parents’ home.

The groom said he would sue the girl’s parents if they didn’t return the dowry or send his bride back.

Saudi National Association for Human Rights member Suhaila Zein al-Abedin urged authorities to get involved, according to Al Arabiya.

Abedin said marriage in Islam must be based on mutual consent and the girl’s behavior indicates she was not satisfied with the arrangement.

The teen’s parents-- a Saudi mother and Yemeni father – should also be held responsible for marrying their daughter to such an old man, Abedin noted.