The Yemeni Women's Union, which helped publicize the case, has since faced retaliation from local authorities
Ibb court annuls marriage between 10-year-old girl and predatory lawyer
A Houthi-run civil court in central Yemen's Ibb governorate has annulled the marriage of a 10-year-old girl to a lawyer handling her previous marriage to a 40-year-old man after pressure from human rights groups and media activists.
Court documents viewed by Almasdar Online show that the court forced lawyer Abdulbasit Yahya Al-Sada to divorce the child, Maram. Her father, Ali Ali Ahmed Al-Arabi, had previously arranged to marry her to the 40-year-old man in the same governorate. Al-Sada intervened and canceled that marriage, but then he married Maram himself.
Maram’s mother, Hayat Abdo Mohammed Awadh, filed a complaint with the local Houthi authorities in Ibb on Sunday, demanding the arrest of her husband, Al-Arabi.
In the complaint, Awadh accused Al-Arabi of authorizing the marriage of 10-year-old Maram, while seeking to do the same with their younger daughter Nidhal, 9, for money.
Women activists have repeatedly called for the arrest of the public notary, Ahmed Mohsen Al-Akza, who approved Maram's marriage to the lawyer, Al-Sada. They also called on those responsible for marrying the young girl, including those who falsified the girls’ ages as 18 years old on official documents, to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
The mother and her two children, meanwhile, complained to the Yemeni Women’s Union in Ibb and asked for their help.
Several days after the union raised the child marriage case, soldiers stormed its headquarters under the direction of Houthi leader Bandar Al-Asal, appointed as the director of Ibb governorate endowments. The Houthis claimed that the visit was related to the civil society group's nonpayment of rent, according to a local activist familiar with the incident, but union leaders understood it as a message to stay quiet.