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Swedish court disallows teen's Sharia marriage

Swedish court disallows teen's Sharia marriage

Published: 15 Mar 2012 16:46 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Mar 2012 16:46 GMT+01:00

The girl, who is now 19-years-old, was married in June 2010 in a Sharia court located in the West Bank town of Hebron, ten days before her 18th birthday, according to Swedish court documents.

When she and her husband moved to Sweden they sought to have their marriage registered with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

But the agency denied the couple's application, arguing the marriage couldn't be registered in Sweden because the woman hadn't turned 18 at the time of the wedding.

In 2004, a change to Swedish law meant to prevent child marriages made marriage under the age of 18 illegal, even if the marriage was entered into abroad.

The woman, who lives in Kristianstad in southern Sweden, nevertheless took her case to the administrative court, which ruled in her favour, finding that at the time of the wedding the woman, who was also pregnant, was so close to the age of majority that she was indeed mature enough to understand the significance of marriage.

In arguing her case, the woman also claimed that her actual wedding had taken place after she turned 18, but that she had mistakenly filled in the date prior to her 18th birthday when she and her husband became engaged and entered in a contract "in accordance with Islamic tradition".

A court of appeal also ruled in favour of the woman, but after the Tax Agency appealed the case further, Sweden's Supreme Administrative Court (Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen) struck down the lower court's decision, ruling that the woman's marriage was invalid in Sweden.

"For the registration of a foreign marriage to occur, it must be made clear in the application that the conditions for registration have been fulfilled," the court wrote in its decision.

"In this case, it was clear from the application that the conditions for registration were lacking because XX hadn't turned 18 at the time of the marriage."

As the court found no other extenuating circumstances to justify the marriage's registration, it ruled that the Tax Agency was justified in rejecting the woman's application that her marriage be registered in Sweden.

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Your comments about this article

18:06 March 15, 2012 by budaboy
Well at least she wasn't 9 years old and pregnant when she got married,

I am glad Sweden is showing some balls now and then.
18:17 March 15, 2012 by johan rebel
Hey, what do you, common sense has prevailed for once.

"finding that at the time of the wedding the woman, who was also pregnant, was so close to the age of majority that she was indeed mature enough to understand the significance of marriage."

What kind of logic is that? Some mature at 13½ years of age, some at 43½, some never do. Because of this variation, the age limit set by law is by definition a compromise. It doesn't follow that the courts than therefore ignore it at their own discretion.

If by the way, this woman had committed a crime, Swedish law would have treated her as not fully mature and responsible until her 23rd birthday. Insane, but true!
18:24 March 15, 2012 by bcterry
I see nothing wrong in marrying at their age, as long as they were both in agreement.

Now that they are both of age, simply go through the legal process in Sweden, and remarry.
19:08 March 15, 2012 by OUIJA
# 2 @ johan rebel

If you want to find logic, we have to move to another country. In Sweden, that is also a forbidden trait. Do you know that even what they (authorities) do not eat, makes them sick?
19:58 March 15, 2012 by Mxzf
I fail to see the problem. Can't they just go and register as married wherever you usually get married outside religions?
20:18 March 15, 2012 by bramblebush
Maybe if they go back to the West Bank, their marriage will be recognized and all will be well for everyone....
22:31 March 15, 2012 by Morenikeji
This is good news. The culture of child-marriage is appalling.
23:30 March 15, 2012 by dizzy09
There you go again Sweden, stop dictating how other nationalities should live their lives, for once have some respect for the laws and customs of other people, not everything that is contrary to Swedish culture is backward. I´m not a Muslim but I believe its wrong for Sweden to usurp the jurisdiction of another country. In lots of places including the USA, 17 years can legally get married in some states.

And beside the age of sexual consent between adults is even lower than 17 years in many countries. I mean who made 18 yrs the standard anyway?

http://www.avert.org/age-of-consent.htm
00:19 March 16, 2012 by Da Goat
excellent decision to uphold the law.

Now they should also charge the "husband" with rape as well, just kidding she was over 16 BUT as she was not legally married and pregnant the local mosque should have them both stoned as per sharia law! LOL
00:54 March 16, 2012 by phil23456
Sweden should never except any rulings by any Sharia court, religion has no right to dictate law, it is the responsibility of the state. Cross this line and then you risk making laws that are based on myths which can quickly turn to chaos, even war.
01:49 March 16, 2012 by irridium
@dizzy09

This has nothing to do with Sweden dictating how other nationalities should behave, they can marry whatever underage girl they want in their own country. This has to do with Swedish law in the country of Sweden. If you decide to live here, you should show enough respect of your host country to obey the law, no matter how contrasting it is to your own customs. As the old saying goes, if you don't like it GTF0!
02:35 March 16, 2012 by Grokh
finally sweden following the equal law for all instead of creating exceptions for religious tradition.

live in sweden obey swedish laws period. besides why did they take this to court why not just marry again on paper in sweden?
05:12 March 16, 2012 by Lavaux
This case demonstrates how little foreigners know about Swedish culture. Marriage is largely irrelevant as a moral or civil institution here. It's more like an official accounting designation - fixed asset or variable asset - than a central institution of society held together by sacred vows and conventional mores and norms, like in Muslim cultures. Therefore, getting the Swedes to recognize a foreign marriage as such is not going to happen. It's just a bookkeeping entry.

That said, it's still a hassle for the couple because they'll have to get their child's paternity acknowledged and get remarried. Lucky for them, there's no social stigma against illegitimate children, and the state paid the attorney fees and court costs for their lengthy introduction to Swedish litigation.
05:31 March 16, 2012 by TheWatchman
Good. This is a good sign.
06:25 March 16, 2012 by Rishonim
The legal age for having sex in Sweden is 15 so why is marriage at 17 not accepted? I mean you can knock up a 15 year old girl, get her pregnant but it is illegal if you want to marry her.. Donkey laws.....
07:14 March 16, 2012 by prince T
I see ur point Rishom.
08:39 March 16, 2012 by Happy Expat
Clearly the law needs changing. If the marriage was one of consent then it should not matter that they were under the Swedish age for marriage.

My UK driving licence was issued when I was 17 and was exchanged for a Swedish licence permitting me to drive all groups here in Sweden. I suspect I am a far greater danger to Swedish society if I drive one of those "Monster Trucks" than this young lady ever could be if her marriage is accepted as de facto by those numbskulls at the tax authority.
08:45 March 16, 2012 by budaboy
@Rishonim.

Because there is no law in Sweden against having sex before or without being married.
09:19 March 16, 2012 by Keith #5083
#irridium

Agreed.

Why is it that in certain other religious-dominated cultures we are told 'you have to follow the laws and traditions here - OR ELSE!" But as soon as Sweden says the same thing, suddenly it is claimed as racism, or segregation or anti-religion?

The fact that,generally, western culture is more tolerant and compassionate is no reason for our standards to be abused.

This has nothing to do with the fulfillment of religious traditions (that this pair have already done). Nor is it to do with an inability to emigrate to Sweden.That they have done. This is to do with...

WHAT?............ REALLY?..................Tax and benefits law?

ahhhhhh.....money!!!!
09:27 March 16, 2012 by OUIJA
Where are you Kafka? Oh! In Sweden, but of course.
09:38 March 16, 2012 by asteriks
Racism is legal in Sweden and SKAT and judge (Supreme Administrative Court) are racists. Such courts are racist all over Europe, they decide about rejected asylum seekers, etc, they always make decisions which are bad for immigrants. I will remember you Bodil Schibli, she also claimed that 90 percent of lay judges in Sweden shared her views. "There has never been a multicultural society that worked - only in the minds of politicians," she said. She was a lay judge in Ystad District Court until February 2008. She wrote several letters to Reinfeldt (Prime Minister) imploring the government to "protect its own people" against "these fanatical immigrants, who really have no reason to be here, other than to be supported by taxpayers."
10:26 March 16, 2012 by occassional
i though I'd heard it all by now but no. They live in Kristianstad.
11:05 March 16, 2012 by libertarianism
Theocracy has no place in Europe, therefore Sharia has no place in secular Europe. It's wise for our secular courts to maintain a clear distinction between Swedish law and religious law.
12:38 March 16, 2012 by Dave N
I wonder what they'll call Kristianstad when Sweden is majority Muslim? Islamstad?
13:53 March 16, 2012 by Rick Methven
See the usual suspects are out in force again with the standard idiot posts.

Yes Dave N that includes you
15:36 March 16, 2012 by Britt-Marie7
Good for Sweden, if you cannot follow their laws, please go back to where you come from and you can do as you wish.

I am an immigrant, now a citizen of a foreign country, I would not think about changing their laws!
15:37 March 16, 2012 by libertarianism
Like "Londonistan" and "Welcome to Belgistan"? :( That's why it's good to draw clear lines.
21:54 March 16, 2012 by sureiam
Hyprocritical, finding it myself, now its all about "maturity" and not child marriage so that means if she was 11 and matured might as well be law bent to her advantage, lol!!! , not considering a child anymore as long as she is matured,,, "ridiculious"............ too easy for SWEDISH system to bend the law like that......................
03:37 March 17, 2012 by jomamas
This is a bad ruling.

These marriages should not be performed in Sweden but they must be recognized.

What if you have two immigrants who come to Sweden from the US, they are both adults, but one was 17 when married? You're not going to recognized? BS.

It is one thing to have laws for your country, it is another to dictate to the world what it should and should not be.

This is typically Swedish thinking.
08:20 March 17, 2012 by mafketis
Two questions.

Why can't they just hop down to the registrar (or Swedish equivalent)?

Where do you draw the line? Sweden set an arbitrary limit to deal with a real problem (child marriage) and making an exception just because she was close to 18 is going to undermine that. But that's probably the whole point.
15:21 March 17, 2013 by janeway
Wonder if this comment is going to be published or disappear into cyber space?

We have laws in this country protecting children from being married off at an early age. It doesn't matter if they are Swedish or foreign nationalities. The law says 18 years of age to enter into marriage. For everyone, even Americans, that sometimes marry at 14.

Why is it so hard for some of you to accept the law of the land? I'm, on the contrary, horrified it took until 2004 before this practice was outlawed! I've seen with my own eyes how 13-15 year old girls were sent to the old country (Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, etc) on vacation and came back married and pregnant. When they turned 18, they applied for their hubby to get residency. By the time he arrived, these girls had already given birth to several children. Disgusting!
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