She was “raped”.. The marriage of a minor “Iraqi” girl raises widespread controversy

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A court confrontation waged by a divorced woman to annul the marriage of her 12-year-old daughter sparked an uproar in Iraq. Today, Sunday, the judge postponed the hearing in the case for another week, while feminist activists protested against the phenomenon; As reported by Agence France-Presse.
The hearing was before the Personal Status Court in Kadhimiya, a suburb of Baghdad, to allow the husband to request official approval of his marriage to the child Isra.
But Esraa’s mother, who refused to reveal her name, said that she did not know the whereabouts of her daughter, and that her ex-husband had “kidnapped” her, and confirmed that her daughter had been “raped”.
For his part, lawyer Marwan Al-Obeidi, who is handling the case as the mother’s agent, confirmed to AFP, “It is not permissible to register the marriage because the girl cannot marry because she is young.”
Early marriage of girls is still common in Iraq, especially in the countryside.
Legally, 18 is the official age for marriage, but there are exceptions that allow marriage at the age of 15, if the girl’s guardian consents.
Marriages concluded by clerics are considered legitimate by some, but remain informal until they are approved by the judiciary in return for payment of financial fees, according to a report by the organization “Save the Children.”
With regard to the case of the girl Israa, a statement from the “Community Police” of the Ministry of Interior stated that a team of its cadres met the girl, her father, her husband and her brother.
The girl confirmed that “the marriage took place with her consent, without anyone hating her or forcing her to do so, and that the team reviewed the legal contract under which the underage girl was married,” according to the statement.
Today, Sunday, feminist activists, including Yanar Muhammad, head of the “Women’s Freedom in Iraq” organization, gathered at the Personal Status Court in Kadhimiya; To refuse to ratify the marriage of Israa.
The activists chanted: “No, no, to marry the rapist to the victim” and “Void, void.”
The head of the organization told AFP: “What does it mean to certify marriage to a girl other than childhood rape?”
“Rape is a crime and we are here to defend the girl,” she added.
And she called for the abolition of Article 398 of the Iraqi Penal Code, which “exempts the rapist from legal punishment if he marries the victim.”
In turn, Jannat Al-Ghazi, a member of the Women’s Freedom Organization, said: “We stood today to say no to the rape of childhood in the name of religion and marriage. Do not kill childhood.”



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