A 16-year-old Saudi girl drank a bottle of bleach in an attempt to commit suicide to escape a forced marriage to a 75-year-old man, press reports revealed Sunday.
The girl identified only as, Shaikha, said her father was forcing her to marry the old man so that he could marry his 13-year-old daughter in an exchange deal, Bahrain’s Tribune reported.
Shaikha described how her father took her to meet the old man and his 13-year-old in a marriage office where they all had pre-marital tests done, the Tribune quoted the Saudi Gazette as reporting.
Shaikha told the paper how she begged and pleaded not to be forced into marriage but both of the men ignored her pleas.
The 16-year-old appealed to the National Society of Human Rights to intervene and stop the marriage, the Tribune said, adding Shaikha, whose parents are separated, asked to live with her mother.
Shaikha’s mother said she should be protected from her father and demanded the marriage contract be cancelled because Shaikha was threatened to marry the man, the paper said.
“Judges can punish men who force their daughters to marry like this,” Sheikh Abdul Mohsin Al Obeikan, Shura Council member said, adding the marriage contract was void because it violated Shariah law, the Tribune reported.
Islamic law states that for a marriage to be legal both parties must consent. If a marriage is performed without consent or under coercion the union is considered void and must be annulled.