Oslo: Family charged for marrying off 13 year old daughter

Oslo: Family charged for marrying off 13 year old daughter

"Every year you are my beloved," the man wrote his cousin in what police thinks is a wedding album. She was just 13.

Now, four years later, the girl lives in a secret location in Norway. Police fear she might be abducted and killed is anybody in her family gets to her.

Police think that the cousin (24), aunt (47), uncle (51), the girl's mother (39) and her father (40) are responsible for the most serious forced-marriage case in Norway ever - and have charged all five in a trial which begins in Oslo today.

Because םכ the constant danger to her life, two police agents will follow every movement around the girl when she testifies today.

"I was told to repeat what the imam said, and did not understand the significance of what happened," the girl told VG about the day she got made-up for a party, and was then married to her older cousin.

The cousin is charged with sexual relations with children under 14, death threats and abuse. During the police interrogation, the girl said that her cousin held a knife to her throat the first time he raped her. He does not admit guilt.

"The girl fears coming to court to testify. This is about her family. It's her identity, and she has a live which is now gone. Now she must tell the court what happened, and it's her family on trial," Simon Stende, the girl's lawyer, told VG.

Police think the girl will probably be in danger for the rest of her life. Today she risks standing face to face with her family members when she will testify what happened in the years since she forced to marry as a 13 year old - and until she turned to the Child Welfare services last year and was moved to a secret location.

The girl's uncle, who is said to be the main man behind the forced marriage, is still on the run, and is being hunted internationally through Kripos (National Criminal Investigation police).

"For them it's about honor. Everything is about that. Since it was decided that I should marry him, I couldn't say anything against it," the girl told the police.

The girl says she doesn't want her parents to be punished in the case. He thinks they couldn't stop the marriage, and that they were just passive participants. None of the family members admit guilt.

"It's true that she feels that way. Both because they're her parents, but also because she thinks they were controlled by others in the family," says Stende.

The girl's father was traveling abroad when the marriage between his daughter and nephew took place. He will testify, together with his wife and sister-in-law.

The cousin admits the two lived together, and that they had consensual sexual relations after she turned 16, but thinks it wasn't coerced.

"My client is looking forward to clarifying that this is due to misunderstanding and falsehoods," Tom Barth-Hofstad, the cousin's lawyer, told VG.

"He loves her and doesn't wish her harm, but he wants to go on with his life."

Source: VG (Norwegian)