9 Aug 2008

Police arrest Mullah for marrying off girl, aged 7

Quqnoos.com - Afghanistan
August 6, 2008

Mullah oversaw marriage between girl and teenage boy, police say

(PAN) Police have arrested a mullah who presided over the marriage of a seven-year-old girl to a teenage boy.

The marriage, against civil and human rights laws, took place in the provincial capital of Jowzjan after the bride’s brother-in-law married her off to his 16-year-old brother, police said.

Police on Tuesday arrested the brother-in-law, Jooma Khan, marriage witness Abdul Satar and Mullah Said Muhammad, who presided over the religious ceremony.

Jooma Khan said that he married the seven-year-old Hanifa to his brother Manzil because she was an orphan and needed support.

He said Hanifa was happy with the wedding.

Head of Jowzjan’s police department, General Abdul Khalel Aminzada, said the girl had been taken to hospital for a medical check-up to see if Manzil had intercourse with her.

The head of the human rights department in the north, Said Muhammad Samai, said Hanifa’s marriage to the teenage boy went against Islamic laws, international laws and human rights laws.

In Afghanistan, it is illegal for girls to marry under the age of 16 and for boys to marry under the age of 18.

Those caught breaking the law face a jail sentence of at least 15 years.

Four years ago, a 12-year-old girl was forced to marry to 60-year-old man in the Andkhoy district of the northern Faryab province.

The marriage ended in divorce three months after the wedding after the girl complained about the man.

Forced marriages in Afghanistan can often end in the bride’s suicide or self-mutilation.

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