- (Photo: AP Images/Hassan Ammar)
A man aged 70 has married a 15-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia, according to human rights workers in the region on Tuesday.
The elderly man has spoken to media to confirm the marriage took place, and has said that the teenager's family sold her to him for about US $20,000, according to CNN.
The 70-year-old has also claimed that the girl's family had tried to snatch her back, and that he complained to authorities that they had taken his money and ripped him off.
However, human rights workers in the region have suggested a different story, and have said that the elderly man and young girl had fought, sparking her to run back to her family.
According to CNN, the girl's father is from Yemen, where as her mother is a Saudi Arabia citizen. The family live in Al-Hurath village in Jizan province, in southwestern Saudi Arabia, which is close to the border with Yemen.
The Human Rights Commission has confirmed that it has sent an investigator to the area in an attempt to offer the girl any assistance she requires. One way in which the commission might help is to provide legal assistance if the young girl disputes the marriage in court. The HRC advocates that anyone under the age of 18 should require court permission prior to being allowed to marry.
According to CNN, Dr. Suhaila Zein al-Abedin, a member of the Saudi National Association for Human Rights, has expressed outrage at the case: "When you consider the very large difference in age, it looks more like this was not a marriage, but like the girl was sold. The girl's parents need to be held responsible for this."
Here is a video report on forced marriages among young children around the world: