Saudi 'Juliet' insists on cousin after divorce

A love story similar to William Shakespeare’s 'Romeo and Juliet' is taking place in Saudi Arabia but it is a real tale, which hopefully will not have the same sad ending as that of the late English playwright.

After more than 15 years of marriage to a much older man, the Saudi woman was divorced and is still thinking of her first lover, her cousin, as her husband.

The woman, who lives in the southwestern town of Jazan, could not oppose her father when he forced her to marry an ageing man over 15 years ago and is still suffering from his clout although she is now above 30 years.

The woman, who was not identified, has sent a letter to the local Sharq newspaper appealing for help against her 'oppressive' father so she can fulfill her dream of marrying her cousin.'

She says she has decided to appeal for help after she was rebuffed by the police, local courts and the human rights organisation.

“I was divorced by that husband five times and every time I return to my father’s home, I suffer more…my father would then force me to show my face to every new would-be husband in return for SR500,” she said in her letter.

“My husband had swore at me and beaten me up many times…every time, I ran away to seek help from my father, I will find the same treatment….my father forced me to return to my husband every time he divorced me…he had done so for money until I got a fifth divorce and went to live with my grandmother.”

The woman, who had children from her divorced husband, said she had complained to the police, the court in Jazan, and local human rights groups but that all of them told her to go to court in Riyadh, where her father lives.

“My father is keeping my children and will not let me see them…I can not go as far as Riyadh for lack of money,” she said.

“I tried again to marry my cousin but my father will not accept him although he is a very good and straightforward young man…I appeal for all authorities and legal parties to support me in this tragedy and keep my father’s hand off me so I can marry my cousin…I will never return to my father after what he did to me.”

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