Belgium: 13-year old married - details

A 13 year old from Schaarbeek passed herself off as her 23 year old sister in 2004 in order to get married to a Moroccan. According to the Walloon newspaper La Dernière Heure this enabled the man to regularize his illegal stay in Belgium.

The sister, who is now 26, was away for two years and discovered the deceit only when she came home last year and was addressed in a letter as "Mrs.". When she came to vote last year in the local elections she was listed as "married" in the registry. The woman went to the municipality of Scharbeek, the municipality where was supposedly married. She was listed as having married a 24 year old Abdel H. on October 13th, 2004.

According to the Brussels court, the mother of the two sisters was aware of the going ons. Her 13 year old daughter lied about losing her ID card and managed in this way to get new documents on her sister's name. She was then "officially" 23 and could marry Abdel H.

The Moroccan was not arrested but is suspected of rape. any sexual contact with a kid younger than 14 is considered rape by the courts.

The girl, being a minor, cannot be prosecuted. The correctional court can declare the marriage null on the basis of forgery. Also, the registry office can approach the court to declare the annulment.

Source: HLN (Dutch)

See also: Belgium: 13-year old married

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