Saudi girl drinks bleach rather than marry

Aug. 18, 2008 at 11:47 AM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A forced marriage drove a 16-year-old Saudi girl to drink bleach rather than marry a 75-year-old man, she said.

Her own father was "swapping" her for the 13-year-old daughter of the other man, said the girl identified only as Shaikha, who saw suicide as her only way out of an unwanted marriage, Dubai's Online news service al-Arabiya reported Monday.

The 16-year-old described being taken to meet the old man and the 13-year-old in a marriage office where all had premarital tests done. Shaikha has since appealed to the National Society of Human Rights to stop the marriage, asking to go live with her mother, who is separated from her father.

At least one authority is in agreement while the case remains under investigation.

"Judges can punish men who force their daughters to marry like this," Sheikh Abdul Mohsin al-Obeikan, Shura Council member said, adding that the marriage contract was necessarily void because it violated Shariah law.

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