SANA’A // Elham Mahdi al Assi, a 13-year-old girl, died from severe haemorrhaging and the rupturing of internal organs as a result of sexual intercourse, just five days after she was married.

Her death follows a number of high-profile child marriage cases that have shaken Yemen and, activists hope, may go some way towards bringing about a law that would establish a minimum age for marriage.

Elham, who lived in the village of Qalat Hameed in Hajja province, about 130km north of Sana’a, was married on March 29 to a man in his 20s in a traditional arrangement known as a “swap marriage”, in which the brother of the bride married the sister of the groom. She died on April 2, though it is not clear if she was dead before arriving at the hospital.

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