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Saudi couple forced to divorce by court appeal for help

A Saudi couple forced to divorce by an Islamic court have called for more international pressure to reunite them after Saudi authorities failed to fulfil a pledge to a UN body to do so.

  • Reuters
  • Published: 00:02 May 26, 2008
  • Gulf News

Riyadh: A Saudi couple forced to divorce by an Islamic court have called for more international pressure to reunite them after Saudi authorities failed to fulfil a pledge to a UN body to do so.

Fatima Azzaz and Mansour Al Timani were forced to separate in 2006 after her brothers persuaded judges her husband's tribal stock was not prestigious enough.

It is one of a series of cases that have drawn international criticism of human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Yakin Erturk, the UN's expert on violence against women, said during a visit to Riyadh in February that authorities had promised to allow the couple to reunite.

"Our case has not been resolved yet ... I cannot get justice in my country, the United Nations could not get me justice, I turn to Allah and to the world to ask for this injustice to be brought to an end," Al Timani told Reuters late on Saturday.

Officials at the Justice Ministry and the state-run Human Rights Commission were not immediately available for comment.

Al Timani said authorities had repeatedly detained and warned him not to speak to the media. He said he had been banned from travelling or seeing his wife and two-year-old son.

"Authorities want me to give up the case. I could spend my entire life seeking justice or even be thrown in a dark cell, but I will never give up," he said by telephone.

Fatima Azzaz is being held with her son in a government home for orphans. She refuses to return to her family home as required by the court order divorcing her from Al Timani, who has custody of their four-year-old daughter.

"I urge international organisations to find a quick solution, we have had enough of empty promises," she said by telephone from the eastern city of Dammam.

In December, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz issued a pardon to a 19-year-old woman condemned to 200 lashes for having been with an unrelated man when seven men kidnapped and raped her. The intervention followed international pressure.

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