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Wedding night death of girl, 8, denied in Yemen

Journalist who broke story insists reports of child bride's death are true

  • Saeed Al Batati, Correspondent
  • Published: 16:56 September 9, 2013
  • Gulf News

Sana’a: Local security officials and journalists in Yemen’s northern province of Hajja have strongly denied media reports about the death of an eight-year-old girl shortly after her wedding. But the journalist who wrote the controversial story insisted that his story was correct and based on the accounts of the girl’s neighbours.

Local media recently ran a story about an eight-year old girl who died after suffering heavy bleeding and a tear in her genitals after sleeping with her middle-aged husband. The story went viral on the internet, causing outrage in the region, with people taking to blogs and social networks to condemn the alleged incident.

The journalist who wrote the story that sparked the outrage however stood by his account and insisted that his story is true.

Mohammad Radman, a freelance journalist from the province, commented on the officials’ denial by saying that the girl’s neighbours told him the girl was dead and buried.

“They are willing to give their testimony on this issue. I think the officials are trying to bury the story.” he said.

Mosleh Al Azzani, the director of Criminal Investigation in Harradh district where the marriage was thought to have taken place, told Gulf News via telephone that he personally sent for the girl and her father to question them about the incident. The girl’s name is Rawan.

“When I heard the rumours, I called the girl’s father. He came with his daughter and denied the marriage and death of his daughter. I have the photos of the girl and will show it to anyone.”

The official said that the girl was eight years old and her father was in his late 40s.

“The man moved to Haradh 20 days ago. He is a father of Rawan, another married daughter and a son. I am ready to call them again if any journalist wants to investigate this issue.” he said, adding that he did not receive any information from the local hospital about the death of the girl.

Also in Hajja, Aziz Saleh, a journalist who runs a local website, said that he contacted the local authority’s office who denied the news.

“All of them maintained that neither the marriage nor death had taken place,” he said

In the capital, Ahmad Al Qurishi, the head of SEYAJ Organisation for Childhood Protection, an independent NGO that advocates children’s rights, told Gulf News that government and judicial officials in the province of Hajja denied the information about the marriage and death.

“I got in touch with the director of Criminal Investigation, Hajja’s prosecutor and the province’s security chief who all flatly denied the story,” he said.

Al Qurishi said that his organisation conducted its own investigation into the issue by sending some activists to the area.” The preliminary results show that the story was untrue.”

Al Qurishi accused some people of using the controversial issue of underage marriage in Yemen “for their own interests”.

“Some people create these stories to get publicity and attention and aid from international organisations,” he said.

Comments (5)

  1. Added 17:52 September 10, 2013

    That's simple, produce the girl..let the world see that she is alive and kicking. Even if some would try to cover their eyes as not to see...we all know these things are happening in the real world.

    Rivers, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:53 September 10, 2013

    If this story is true, and I hear from friends that similar " things " are happening in their countries.........the parents and the "GROOM" should be castrated in fron of their communities..................... I am saddened to the point of feeling sick for this poor child.............my own grand daughter is the same age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jean carole schmidtpeter, Kuppenheim, Germany

  3. Added 15:19 September 10, 2013

    I am not surprised, unfortunately many countries with back warded mentality, allow the mariage of the children, so unfortunately is not a surprise for me, as the children are treated as goods for sale. If this truly happened all the responsible people should be to answer front side of the court, of course for this act of pedophilia.

    Mario, Rome, Italy

  4. Added 15:12 September 10, 2013

    "after sleeping with her middle-aged husband..." I think you mean, "after being RAPED BY her middle-aged husband." Children don't "sleep with" their rapists. Also, please conclusively find out if this story is true or not.

    Nix, London, United Kingdom

  5. Added 12:29 September 10, 2013

    Well..this is not new, media never checks anything and just spread news that is false and built up. I would appreciate if Gulf News also rechecks and authenticates before publishing as this tarnishes the image of a particular country or society or the religion itself as we humans just need to play the blame game. I am sure the blogs and social sites would have been flogged with hate comments against arabs, their traditions and of course Islam. Well please we have so many serious issues to focus on in this world for example the open rowdy behaviour and oppression of USA going on in the world, why is that not highlighted properly and criticized and stopped by the media rather than encouraging fake and fabricated stories and creating a business for themselves. directly media is nothing but a business of selling lies and falsehood

    Iffath, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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