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Teenager jailed for rejecting forced marriage is freed

Author: Michael Daniel | Published: Monday, November 14, 2022

Gate of Wau Central Prison where Akwac is being held for refusing to accept an arranged marriage. (Photo: Courtesy).

The 19-year-old woman sentenced to months of imprisonment in Wau, for refusing to consent to arranged marriage, has been released upon intervention o the state government.

Anna Daniel Ali, the Director-General in Western Bahr el Ghazal State Ministry of Gender confirmed the release of Mary Akwac Michael from a reformatory facility inside Wau Central Prison.

“We solved this problem today (Monday) and moved the girl to the safe house. We also stopped the forced marriage,” said Anna.

The safe house is a facility run by the state ministry of gender to rehabilitate and reintegrate GBV survivors in the state.

Anna said the survivor of Gender-Based Violence will undergo psychological treatment and rehabilitation, before returning to school to complete her studies.

Prior to her release, Mary Akwac had already served one of the four months jail term she got at Wau Central Prison.

The mother of an infant, who is also a university student was convicted by traditional chiefs for having rejected a husband chosen for her by a relative.

The student of Bahr el Ghazal University said her aunt intend to force her to marry a man she doesn’t love, saying she has ruined her life by getting impregnated by an irresponsible person.

Members of the public have criticized the customary court for unlawfully punishing the teen mother.

Law Professor and former Court of Appeal judge Geri Raymundo has so condemned the decision, saying the chiefs acted contrary to the law.

According to article 15 of the 2011 transitional constitution, every person of marriageable age shall have the right to marry a person of the opposite sex and to formatting a family according to their respective family laws.

It also dictates that no marriage shall be entered without the free and full consent of the man and woman intending to marry.





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