Court Sentences Man Who Married 13-Year-Old in Iraq and Brought Her to Finland

Forced marriage
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

A Finnish court has sentenced an Iraqi migrant to four years in prison after being convicted of several crimes when he married a 13-year-old girl in Iraq and brought her to Finland in 2014.

The Iraqi-background man, who is 30-years-old, was convicted of aggravated rape, sexual abuse of a child, and human trafficking for incidents that took place between May and July of 2014.

The man had made attempts to claim that he did not know the true age of the girl when he married her but a court of appeal in Turku rejected his story, broadcaster Yle reports.

During the case, the National Institute for Health and Welfare carried out forensic tests on the girl, including x-rays of her teeth and hands, to determine her true age.

According to a report on the case from 2019, the Iraqi background man had moved to Finland as a child himself, and presented the girl as being 19-years-old with an Iraqi passport claiming her to be an adult as she entered the country.

Child marriages continue to be an issue in some European countries, particularly those with large migrant and migration-background populations such as Sweden, where a 2018 report noted a rise in both child marriages and forced marriages between 2014 and 2018.

In December of 2018, a Swedish appeals court convicted the parents of a 13-year-old Syrian girl for making attempts to marry her to a 24-year-old man.

In Denmark, the previous government had made removes to separate child brides from their adult husbands during the height of the European migrant crisis, but earlier this year lawyers have claimed that the move by former Migration Minister Inger Støjberg may have been illegal.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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