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Egypt's prosecutors summon parents of engaged underage couple

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Ayat Al Tawy , Wednesday 19 Dec 2018
engaged underage couple
A still image from a video of the engagement ceremony of Fares, 15, (R) and Nada, 14, (L) in the Nile Delta town of Kafr El-Sheikh
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Egypt's public prosecution has summoned the parents of an underage couple whose recent engagement has sparked a public debate, the prosecution said in a statement.

A video footage of the engagement ceremony of 15-year-old Fares and his relative Nada, 14, in the Nile Delta town of Kafr El-Shiekh went viral online earlier this week, sparking ridicule from social media users and condemnation from officials.

The public prosecutor's office said in a statement on Wednesday that it had summoned the parents of the duo and "instructed them to distance their kids from things not commensurate with their age."

Prosecutors investigating the matter have taken the necessary legal measures as prescribed by Egypt's child law, the statement said without elaborating.

Egypt's National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) condemned the incident two days ago as a "flagrant violation" of children’s rights and said it had the parents pledge to halt any marriage procedures until the pair reach the legal age of 18.

According to a report by UNICEF and NCCM in June, one out of 20 girls aged 15 to 17 and one out of 10 girls aged 15 to 19 are currently, or at one time have been, married.

The report, which features data from Egypt's official statistics agency CAPMAS, says girls in rural areas are three times more vulnerable to child marriage than those living in urban areas.

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