UPDATE: Yemeni officials and journalists are saying the reports that an 8-year-old girl allegedly died of vaginal tearing on her wedding night are false, according to a report in Dubai-based news site Gulf News.
An eight-year-old Yemeni girl has died of internal sexual injuries after spending her wedding night with a husband five times her age.
The girl, identified as Rawan, is believed to have suffered tearing of her genitals and a uterine rupture, Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al Watan reports.
It says Kuwaiti activists have called for action against the man, who is 40, as well as the girl’s family for allowing the marriage.
The girl died in the tribal area of Hardh in northwestern Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia.
Gulf News quotes blogger Angry Man as posting the husband is “an animal who deserved to be punished severely for his crime.”
“All those who supported such a crime should also be punished,” he added.
Al Bawaba reports over a quarter of young girls in Yemen are married before the age of 15.
It adds the country passed a law in February 2009 setting the minimum age of marriage at 17, but that it was repealed after conservative lawmakers declared it “un-Islamic”.
In 2010 a 13-year-old Yemeni girl who was forced into an arranged marriage died five days after her wedding when she suffered an internal rupture, a local human rights organisation said.
Ilham Mahdi al Assi died in Yemen's Hajja province, the Shaqaeq Arab Forum for Human Rights told the AFP in a statement quoting a medical report.
According to a World Vision study released in March, more child brides are being led into arranged marriages due to an increase in global poverty and crises.
Parents who live in fear of natural disasters, political instability and financial ruin look to arranged marriages as a way to save their struggling families.
Every day, 39,000 girls younger than 18 will marry, according to the World Health Organisation.
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Women earn a staggering 82 percent less than men. Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation Services
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