No marriage? 23 Saudi women sue guardians

Riyadh, July 4: Twenty-three Saudi women sued their parents last year for not letting them get married, a source at the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) said.

Riyadh had 11 cases, followed by Madinah with four, and two each in Dammam, Makkah, Jeddah and Jazan, the Arab News reported citing the source.

These cases are known in Arabic as "adhl".

Suhaila Zain Al-Abideen Hammad, a rights activist and member of the NSHR, has called on the government to introduce a law to protect women from "adhl".

"It is imperative to introduce legislation that would give women the power to marry once they reach a certain age, without getting approval from their guardians," the activist was quoted as saying.

She said women are now at the mercy of their guardians.

The NSHR recently dealt with several cases where guardians refused to allow women under their care to marry because they disapproved of the suitors' tribe, or wanted to live on the women's salaries, she said.

Hammad said "adhl" could cause severe psychological trauma for women, including depression, suicidal tendencies and drug addiction.


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