A young girl, alternatively described in reports as 12 or 13, died in a Yemini hospital, three days after her wedding on March 19, 2010 to a man twice her age.
The girl, identified as Elham Madhi al Assi, had taken part in what is described as a “swap marriage”. Elham’s brother wanted to marry a woman but did not want to or was unable to pay for his bride. So he arranged a swap; he would marry his friend’s sister while the friend would marry his sister (Elham).
Medical reports indicate that the young girl died as a result of severe bleeding that was caused by tears in her genital and anal area from sexual actvity.
Elham’s mother told the Associated Press that before she died, her daughter told her that her husband had tied her up and raped her. Since neither marrying a child nor forcing a wife to have sex is a criminal offence in Yemen, no charges are expected to be brought as a result of the death of the young girl.
Elhan’s death is far from an isolated incident in Yemen. In 2009, Fawziya Abdullah Yousef, 12, died in a hospital 140 miles outside of the Yemeni capital of Sanna. She also died from bleeding after being in labour for three days before giving birth to a stillborn baby. Arwa Elabee, a Sanaa gynecologist, was quoted as saying that there are a lot of complications that result when girls have sex and become pregnant at a young age.