Officiator faces probe over marriage of minor girl


By Adnan Al-Shabrawi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — A marriage officiator (mazoun) is currently being investigated for concluding a marriage contract involving a minor girl.

The investigation was ordered by Justice Minister Walid Mohammed Al-Samaani, who said the marriage contract was in gross violation of the ministry’s regulations for preventing underage marriage.

According to the ministry, the incident took place in the south of the Kingdom and the girl was below 18 years of age.

Under the standing orders of the ministry, no marriage contract for a minor should be conducted without first applying to the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, which enforces regulations concerning child protection.

Under the child protection regulations, before concluding any marriage contract involving minors, the mazoun should make sure that the bride or bridegroom will not be hurt in any way as a result of the marriage.

The ministry also prevents the mazouns from concluding marriage contracts for minors before obtaining permission from the concerned court.

The Public Prosecution in Jeddah early this year questioned a mazoun who approved the marriage of a divorcee without seeing her original divorce deed.

Lawyer Hakam Al-Hakami said the mazouns often commit grave mistakes. They allow brothers and uncles to marry off women while their fathers are still alive.

He said some mazouns also concluded marriage contracts for couples who did not present certificates of pre-marital health checkup proving that they were free from contagious diseases and were suitable for marriage.

The lawyer said sometimes the mazouns wrote marriage contracts on a photocopy of the ID card of one of the partners or without actually hearing the consent of the bride to the marriage.