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    Saudi Man, 47, marries girl, 8

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    AL_JAZEERA_ENGLISH

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    When a 47-year-old man married an 8-year-old girl in Saudi Arabia, there was public outrage.

    A group fighting for women's rights in Saudi Arabia condemned a judge Wednesday for refusing to annul the marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a 47-year-old man.

    The group's co-founder, Wajeha al-Huwaider, told CNN that achieving human rights in the kingdom means standing against those who want to "keep us backward and in the dark ages."

    The Society of Defending Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia, in a statement published on its Web site, called on the "minister of justice and human rights groups to interfere now in this case" by divorcing the girl from the man. "They must end this marriage deal which was made by the father of the girl and the husband."

    On Saturday, the judge, Sheikh Habib Abdallah al-Habib, dismissed a petition brought by the girl's mother.

    The mother's lawyer, Abdullah al-Jutaili, said the judge found that the mother -- who is separated from the girl's father -- is not the legal guardian, and therefore cannot represent her daughter.

    The judge requested, and received, a pledge from the husband, who was in court, not to allow the marriage to be consummated until the girl reaches puberty, al-Jutaili said. When she reaches puberty, the judge ruled, the girl will have the right to request a divorce by filing a petition with the court, the lawyer said.

    Al-Jutaili said the girl's father arranged the marriage in order to settle his debts with the man, "a close friend" of his.