RIYADH, SEPTEMBER 10 - A Saudi judge asked to decide on the request for divorce between an eight-year-old girl and a man of 50 has taken his time until December 20 to rule on the case, a lawyer of the family said. The hearing on the divorce request, filed by the mother of the girl, was held yesterday in the town of Unaizah, 420 kilometres north of Riyadh. Lawyer Abdallah Jtili said that in the hearing the husband reiterated he did not agree with the breaking up of the marriage. "The judge said he wanted to reflect further on the matter and give time to the parties to reach a mutual agreement before ruling on the case," the lawyer said. The marriage of the girl, who does not know yet that she has been given away as bride, was organised by the father. Some relatives of the child reported the case in August to a Saudi human rights association asking it to intervene in order to annul the marriage. Cases of girls given as brides to men are denounced from time to time in Saudi Arabia, an ultra-conservative kingdom which rigidly applies the fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam which allows polygamy. In neighbouring Yemen an eight-year-old girl obtained in April divorce after having denounced in the court her father who had forced her to marry a 28-year-old man.
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