Gulf | Yemen

Rapist husband of dead Yemeni child bride should die: family

Elham Al Ashi died Friday, five days after marrying Abdul Hekmi, 24,

  • AFP
  • Published: 16:27 April 11, 2010

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • I demand the implementation of Allah's law. I demand punishment, the mother of the girl, Nijma Ahmad says.

Al Asha, Yemen: The family of a 12-year-old Yemeni girl who died after being sexually violated by her husband a few days into her arranged marriage is demanding his execution.

Elham Assi died last Friday, five days after marrying Abed Al Hikmi, 24, in a case which has again brought into sharp focus the plight of Yemen’s so-called “brides of death”.

The medical report from the main hospital in the Hajja province, north of the capital, said she suffered a deep rupture in the genitals.

“I demand the implementation of Allah’s law. I demand punishment,” the mother of the girl, Nijma Ahmad, told AFP, referring to execution, which is the penalty for murder in the Muslim country.

In the hut village of Al Asha the mother said her daughter had been “fine and full of health” when she got married.

The husband’s family in a neighbouring village told her a few days after the wedding that her daughter “was sick, suffering malaria, and that the spirits have possessed her in the wedding”.

“I responded: Have fear for God. My daughter has no problems,” she added.

The brother of the girl, Abdullah, who had married the sister of Al Hikmi on the same day as part of the traditional custom of Sheghar, or swap marriage, accused his brother-in-law and his family of killing his sister.

“They have killed her: her husband and his family. They tied down my sister and killed her,” he said, standing next to his hut where he lived for less than a week with his bride, who is now back with her family.

His in-laws called back his wife, saying that her mother was ill, after they discovered that his sister was dead, he said.

Al Hikmi later went to the family of his bride telling them that she was ill.

“When we got to her, she was motionless,” her mother said.

The family of Assi is now refusing to take her body out of the hospital’s morgue in Hajja, near Al Asha, around 220km northwest of the capital. They want the husband to be punished.

Al Hikmi meanwhile remains in custody and according to a police report has admitted forcing himself onto his wife when she refused to have sex with him.

In September, a 12-year-old wife died along with her baby during a difficult delivery. “This proves that the law and the state will not be able to protect the young girls from early marriage unless there is an awareness campaign combined with penalties for those who break the law that we demand to be ratified,” lawyer Shaza Nasser told AFP.

A law setting a minimum age for marriage at 17 for women and 18 for men has stirred controversy in Yemen and failed to reach implementation despite passing in parliament after conservative MPs demanded that it be revised.

The lawyer, who in 2008 succeeded in obtaining divorce for Nojud Mohammad Ali, married at the age of eight to a man 20 years her senior, said she will take the case of Al Ashi’s family and “demand execution” for Hekmi.

Comments (5)

  1. Added 17:50 April 12, 2010

    no one has to be blamed except parents as they are aware their daughter is too young for marriage physically,mentally and emotionally. No one can love and take care of her except them her parents, there are some child bride in my country but she doesnt live with her husband until they've reached in maturity age but this case is horrible, i cannot even imagine what had happend to her... poor girl shes very innocent and cant even fight for her rights.

    zahra, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:12 April 12, 2010

    To die of such injuries, one wonders what the child had gone through in the hands of the groom. I definitely agree, this is not Islam, as Islam is about peace...certainly violation of this kind to another human being is unpardonable. However, I do also feel that the parents, particularly the father, should not have married her off at such young age, should not have followed the tradition of "swap marriage," just to avoid giving dowry. Yes, traditions have served their means to cultures and identities, but things do change as knowledge grows. How will a child know about being a good wife and child-rearing, when she is still a child?

    farah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 17:03 April 12, 2010

    This story highlights two crimes - one leading to the other! 1) Child Marriage 2) Marital rape Whilst the so-called 'husband' is to be prosecuted for Marital rape, who's going to accept the blame for Child Marriage?? The voice of my education tells me that criminals of both crimes need to be punished as they're both involved in the murder of an innocent child. Child Marriage kills the innocence of a child and although the victim may physically live, in many cases she's an emotionally dead soul.

    Sujah Samson-Paul, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 16:38 April 12, 2010

    These kind of incidents forces a man to belive that man is a social animal and sometimes the word "social" become dubious. The parents who got thier daughter married for money are not social animals but only animals and the husband who forces himself on a 12 year child after when she refused to have sex is for sure an animal. This is exactly what animals do. I have lived in western countries and i can imagine what kind of image these kind of marriages imparts on our religion in western society.

    Khizar Hayat, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 15:58 April 12, 2010

    why should the mother of this young bride demand the death of the groom... who asked the parents to get their young child married off at such a tender and early age... this had to be done because of money given by the groom to the brides parents. this is nonsense and the girls parents should be taken to task instead of the groom.... this is not islam for sure... understand your religion before doing things.... this goes to all religions that marry their daughters at early ages for a few silver coins.... shame on such parents.

    SMC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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