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Girl married off ‘over fear of IS’

Bahrain News
Wed, 23 Nov 2016
By NOOR ZAHRA


A SYRIAN man claimed he was forced to marry off his young daughter to her cousin because he feared she would be taken as a sex slave by the Islamic State, the GDN has learnt. 

He made the claims yesterday when prosecutors questioned him and an 18-year-old Syrian claiming to be the girl’s husband.

Escaped

The girl, whose birth certificate states she is 11 years old, gave birth at the American Mission Hospital (AMH) on November 10.

The father told prosecutors his family escaped Syria and arrived in Bahrain a short while before his daughter gave birth.  

“The father claimed they had no option but to let the girl wed her cousin, the 18-year-old suspect,” sources told the GDN.

“They both said they were afraid of Daesh and they had no other choice.

“The father said this way her cousin could protect her from Daesh who would take her as a sex slave if she was not married.

“He also said this was now the norm in Syria since the war began.

“The defendants both said they fled Daesh and came to Bahrain before they were arrested.

“However, if the girl is proven to be below the legal age of 15 then this is against Bahraini law.

“Their claims does not give them the right to force a young girl to marry anyone.

“The girl was very quite and shy most of the time during the questioning.

“She has been taken to a hospital where a doctor will examine her for any mistreatment.” 

Both men denied mistreating a child, but were remanded in custody pending further investigations.

They initially told prosecutors the girl was actually 15 years old and that an error on her birth certificate meant her age was wrongly stated.

Under Bahraini law the minimum age to get married is 18 for males and 15 for females.

The GDN previously reported that the girl was already in the final stage of labour when she arrived at AMH accompanied by four relatives, two men and two women.

Police were called and, after she gave birth, the girl and her relatives were taken for questioning.

They returned to the hospital later in the day where both the girl and her baby were cared for by staff.

noorz@gdn.com.bh