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Ex-imam charged with marrying 12-year-old girl to man twice her age

Feb. 11, 2014 at 12:48 PM   |   Comments

NEWCASTLE, Australia, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The former imam of a mosque in Australia has been charged with marrying a 12-year-old girl to a man twice her age.

Police in New South Wales are considering bringing charges against the girl's father, who agreed to the match, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday.

Riaz Tasawar, who was until recently the imam at the Mayfield mosque in Newcastle, has been charged with performing the wedding illegally. The 26-year-old man who was married to the 12-year-old girl has been charged with having sex with a minor and is being held pending a bail hearing.

"The investigation is nowhere near finished," Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas said. "Any further charges that can be laid will be laid, possibly subject to legal advice."

The Islamic Center of Newcastle said officials there were not aware of the wedding. The mosque is cooperating with police in the investigation.

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