Marry A Child & Go To Jail, Gambian President Tells Citizens

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has
announced a ban on child marriage in the
predominantly Muslim west African
nation, threatening heavy jail terms for
those who break the new rules.
Speaking to a group of Muslim elders in
Banjul on Wednesday, Jammeh said: “As
from today, Jul 6, child marriage is illegal
and is banned in Gambia.”
“Anyone who marries a girl under 18 years
will spend 20 years in jail. The girls’
parents would spend 21 years in jail and
anyone who knows about it and fails to
report the matter to the authorities would
spend 10 years in jail,” he added.
“The Imam and those that preside over the
marriage ceremony would also be sent to
jail. If you want to know whether what I
am saying is true or not, try it tomorrow
and see.”
Jammeh instructed lawmakers to pass
legislation reflecting the new ban before
Jul 21.
In December, legislators passed a bill
criminalising female circumcision and
introducing prison terms of up to three
years for anyone flouting the ban, a month
after Jammeh branded the practice
outdated and ordered its immediate
Jammeh declared in November that the
practice was not required by Islam – the
religion of around 95 per cent of the
country’s 1.8 million population – and that
it should be consigned to history,
according to a government spokesman.

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