Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission announced on Wednesday that a divorce has been granted for the arranged marriage between a 70-year-old Saudi man and his 15-year-old wife, which received widespread international coverage earlier this week.
According to the elderly groom, the family of the teen allegedly tricked him into the union, and he had paid them $20,000 for their permission. Following an argument between the newlyweds on their wedding night, the 15-year-old reportedly locked her husband out of their bedroom and fled back to her family.
The groom, who refused to provide his name, considered the desertion to be a violation of their contract and subsequently demanded his $20,000 dowry back, threatening a lawsuit.
Despite a push in Saudi Arabia in recent years to prohibit "child marriages," as they are called, the Muslim nation does not have any laws that stipulate a minimum age for marriage.
Multiple other "child marriages" have been recorded in the region in recent years by international news outlets, including an 11-year-old girl who married a 40-year-old man in Afghanistan in 2005 and an 8-year-old girl who married a 60-year-old man in Saudi Arabia in 2009.
According to CNN's Christiane Amanpour, an estimated 51 million child brides exist around the world today.
In the case of the unsuccessful marriage between the 70-year-old Saudi and his 15-year-old wife, an investigation was launched by Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission after the wedding.
Following the investigation, the commission appeared to side with the family of the 15-year-old girl, offering them legal assistance if the case went before a Saudi court.
Dr. Bandar Alaiban, the commission's president, confirmed on Wednesday to CNN that a meeting between the girl, her parents, and the man, had occurred and "a divorce has taken place . . . The dispute has now been resolved amicably."
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