Lebanese Man Lands in Jail in Australia Child Bride Case
A Lebanese man was on Friday sentenced to at least seven and a half years in jail in Australia for marrying a 12-year-old girl.
Judge Deborah Sweeney from the Downing Center District Court said the man embarked on a "determined and deliberate pursuit of the girl" until he married her at a private home on January 12, 2014.
The 27-year-old Lebanese student, who was not named, was visiting Australia on a student visa when he wed the girl during an Islamic ceremony in the Hunter Valley in the state of New South Wales.
In February 2014, the girl, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, was examined at a hospital after she complained of sharp right abdominal pain. Doctors found she had an ectopic pregnancy - where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus - and miscarried.
The man was originally charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with an underage child. But in October last year he pleaded guilty to one count of persistent sexual abuse of a child.
In setting a non-parole period of seven-and-a-half years, Judge Sweeney said "neither his cultural or religious beliefs excuse his offense.”
The imam, who performed the ceremony, pleaded guilty in April last year to solemnizing the marriage and was fined $500 before being deported to Pakistan.