A 70-year-old man who stirred outrage earlier this week when news of his marriage to a 15-year-old girl was revealed has been granted a divorce.
Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission confirmed on Wednesday that a divorce had been granted between the elderly man and his teenage bride, according to reports.
The man had claimed that he was 70 years old, said CNN, but officials believe that he is actually 86. He also stated that he believed his bride to be 25-years-old. The man paid a $20,000 dowry for his bride, who he said later ran away and returned back to her home in Al-Hurath village in Jizan province.
After the girl ran, the man filed a report with the local courts. Following an investigation by the commission and a discussion between the man and the girl's parents, the married couple was granted a divorce.
"A divorce has taken place," Dr. Bandar Alaiban, the commission's president, told CNN, "and the dispute has now been resolved amicably."
Alaiban also added that it appeared the girl had been sold and wed to the man against her will.
"When you consider the very large difference in age, it looks more like this was not a marriage, but like the girl was sold," al-Abedin told. "The girl's parents need to be held responsible for this."
The issue raised a large debate over the age of consent and the cultural differences between Saudi Arabia and Western civilization. One user wrote on the CNN blog that the age of consent in 1985 was 7 in states like Delaware. Time has largely changed those policies, but other users argued that such a fact made the laws seem less substantial.
"As much as I hate to admit it, the fact that our laws change so often according to whoever is in charge is a problem," Justin Cox wrote on the blog. "How can we say that our way is the correct way when it changes every century or few decades? At least their laws are consistent in this regard."