Saudi 12-year-old bride drops divorce case

February 2, 2010 12:51:29 PM PST
The mother of a 12-year-old girl who was married off to an 80-year-old man had unexpectedly dropped a court case to get her daughter divorced, Saudi media reported Tuesday. The decision by the mother came one day before a court was expected to rule on the case.

Saudi newspapers said the girl was now maintaining that she had consensually married the man.

It was not clear what led the mother of the girl, who acts as her legal representative, to drop the case, which has stirred a rare debate in the conservative kingdom about child marriages.

The girl's mother had filed the case asking to "free" her daughter from the marriage. But she dropped the case Monday after reconciling with her ex-husband, who had reportedly married off his daughter in exchange for a large dowry. The mother has reportedly been granted her wish that the girl finishes school.

There are no laws in Saudi Arabia setting the minimum age for marriage.