Al-Shajara family court ruled in favour of marriage dissolution for (R), an eleven year-old child bride, who escaped and sought refuge at the family and child protection police unit, stating that she was forced into a marriage with an abusive husband.
The court also ordered an investigation into whoever authorized the marriage without the court’s permission, as stated in article 40 of the family law. The child was handed back to her family and was issued a restraining order against the husband.
In a public statement, the director of Seema center, Nahid Jabrallah, who oversaw advocacy for the case, revealed that the child suffered mental and physical violations and called for furthering the campaign for criminalizing underage marriage and holding those involved accountable.
The victim, who was studying at grade four when she was forced into marriage last January appeared happy with the ruling and expressed her heartfelt repose.
Family law in Sudan allows girls as young as 10 years of age to get married under a judge’s agreement, but social norms skip the step of consulting a judge and the marriage would go through without any inquiry made about the bride’s age.
Child marriage exceeds 34% in Sudan, a case that prompts women and children rights activists to campaign for its criminalization and suggesting that 18 years should be the legal age for marriage.