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Alive?: Yemeni 'child bride' said to have died on her wedding night has appeared in a video, it is claimed
An eight-year-old ‘child bride’ reported to have died of internal injuries on her wedding night is alive, it is claimed.
Shocking reports emerged last week of a Yemeni girl called Rawan who died after being forced into marrying a man five times her age.
The case sparked international outcry and enraged activists launched a campaign calling for the groom and the girl's family to be arrested. They said the Yemeni government must ban child marriages.
However, the original report has been called into question after authorities in north western Yemen presented a girl to reporters that they said was Rawan, alongside a man claiming to be her father.
The bride?: A girl said she was Rawan and she lives with her father and mother in their Yemen home
Reports on 9 September stated an eight-year-old girl who married a 40-year-old man had died
In a video released by Gulf News, Mohammed Abdu Abkar Ebrahim Hattan blasted the story as a rumour fabricated by people 'duped by Satan'.
On camera he insisted angrily that only one of his six daughters is married, and it is not Rawan.
'They are all in good health and not suffering from anything and I deny this news.'
Standing beside him in pink, the little girl giggles for the camera as she too denies the claims.
Asked if she is married, she says: 'No, it is not true.'
The interviewer asks: 'What would you like to say to the people who said that you were dead?'
'I would say to them that this is not true,' she retorts.
News of the alleged death broke on September 9, went viral and prompted outrage around the world.
Human rights groups branded it a landmark case, and said arrests would help put a stop to the practice of marrying very young girls to older men in the impoverished region.
One blogger, Angry Man, posted that the man was 'an animal who deserved to be punished severely for his crime.
'All those who supported such a crime should also be punished.'
Another blogger, Omar, wrote: 'Rawan’s family members are not humans. They do not deserve to have children.'
The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said last week she was 'appalled' by the case and pressed the Yemen government to investigate.
In the video, the interviewer asks Mr Hattan: 'It is said that you married off your eight-year-old daughter who bled and died?'
Angry: A man identified as Rawan's father tells the camera people 'were duped by Satan' to spread rumours
Innocent?: Mr Hattan explains that he has one son and seven daughters. One is married, not Rawan
'This is untrue and baseless,' he replies. 'It is not true. The people who spread this rumour are no good.'
Asked what he has to say to his accusers, Mr Hattan says: 'There are people who like me and there are those who hate me'.
Mr Hattan shrugs when asked why anyone would fabricate such a story he replied: 'Allah knows. Misunderstanding may occur between you and the other person. Those people who spread this rumour were duped by Satan to fabricate the story.
'They want to disturb media, officials and me...It is propaganda.'
The video shows a young girl in a flowery hijab and pink T-shirt, smiling into the lens.
The interviewer asks: 'Do you live with family in this house with your father and mother?'
'Yes, with my father and mother,' she replies.
'What would you like to say to the people who said that you were dead?'
'I would say to them that this is not true.'
The girl is said to have died in the tribal area of Hardh in northwestern Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia.
The practice of marrying young girls is widespread in Yemen and has attracted the attention of international rights groups seeking to pressure the government to outlaw child marriages. But the horrifying reports about Rawan prompted at least one government minister to vow that the minimum age for marriage would be raised to 18.
Yemen's poverty plays a role in hindering efforts to stamp out the practice of child marriage, as poor families find themselves unable to say no to 'bride-prices' for their daughters that can be worth hundreds of dollars.
More than a quarter of Yemen's females marry before age 15, according to a report in 2010 by the Social Affairs Ministry.
Tribal custom also plays a role, including the belief that a young bride can be shaped into an obedient wife, bear more children and be kept away from temptation.
In September 2010, a 12-year-old Yemeni child-bride died after struggling for three days in labour to give birth, a local human rights organisation said.
Yemen once set 15 as the minimum age for marriage, but parliament annulled that law in the 1990s, saying parents should decide when a daughter marries.
Growing crisis: A 40-year-old bridegroom and his 11-year-old bride during their wedding in Damarda, Afghanistan. Many countries have no lower age limit for marriage
Following reports of the Rawan case, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, called on the Yemeni government to investigate and make arrests.
Days later, Yemen's human rights minister has asked parliament to pass a law setting a minimum age for marriage.
The minimum age was 15 years old until the 1990s when the government overturned the law.
There are currently 57.5 million child brides across the world, 40 per cent of which married in India.
At this rate, the figure is expected to rise to 140 million by 2020.
It is a common custom among poorer families who rely on their daughter to help herself and the rest of the family to build their income.
In Yemen, more than a quarter of females marry before age 15, according to a report in 2010 by the Social Affairs Ministry.
In Africa, 42 per cent; Latin America and the Caribbean, 29 per cent.
In India, almost half the population (46 per cent) of girls are married by the time they reach 18, according to the National Family Health Survey-3.
bullshit its a lie somewhere or she has a twin or another child that looks like her I I feel in my heart it happened raping kids marrying a child you sick old dirty bastered need to be hang by your nuts
All the men in the back ground look like creeps and the youths- creeps in training.
This don't necessarily have to be the girl. They could have easily used another child to prove that she isn't dead...regardless, I agree with Ruff....the practice should be outlawed and parents that allow this to happen to their daughters should be charged as well.
Alive or dead the practice should be outlawed!!!
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