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Viral video of Yemeni girl fleeing forced marriage is now being called into question

Questions are now circulating around the story of Nada al-Ahdal, the 11 year-old Yemeni girl whose video about her alleged escape from an arranged marriage went viral earlier this month.

In the video, Nada claims to have run away from her parents’ home to her uncle’s to find a safe haven. Her story was covered by many online media groups, including Al Jazeera.

But now, human rights groups involved in the case are saying that parts of Nada’s story are false — including the claim that her parents planned to marry her off. According to the Yemeni Women’s Union, someone had approached Nada’s parents to suggest a potential husband for her, but they refused. The YWU has confirmed that Nada has returned to live with her parents after being in the group’s custody while the case was being investigated.

The person who uploaded the original video was Ziad Abdul-Jabbar, who works on a children’s show called Nujoom al-Madina (Arabic for Star City). The show regularly features Nada and Ziad still maintains that her account is true.

In spite of the disputes about Nada’s story, child marriage is not uncommon in Yemen. According to data gathered by UNICEF between 2002 and 2011, 11 percent of Yemeni children were married by age 15 and 32 percent were married by age 18.

Watch Nada’s original video below.

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