Yemeni girl, 8, gets divorce after forced marriage

A Yemeni court has annulled an eight-year-old girl’s marriage to a man in his 20s, after she filed for divorce.

The girl, Nojoud Mohammed Ali, took a taxi to a judge’s office on her own, after running away from her husband.

Lawyer Shatha Nasser told the BBC she heard about Nojoud by chance and instantly decided to represent her.

“Child brides are common in parts of Yemen, but this case received wider attention because it reached court,” she said.

Yemen is one of the world’s poorest countries.

Although it has no legal minimum age for marriage, the wife is only allowed to live with her husband once she has reached puberty.

Nojoud’s unemployed father and husband were also present at the hearing.

The courtroom was packed with members of the press and human rights activists, who are using the case to highlight the need for more child protection in Yemen.

Nojoud told the court she had signed the marriage contract two-and-a-half months ago on the understanding she would stay in her parents’ house until she was 18.

“But a week after signing, my mother and father forced me to go and live with him.”

Marriage consummated

Her former husband, Faez Ali Thameur, told the court the marriage was consummated, but he denied Nojoud’s claims that he beat her.

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