January 8th, 2013
03:14 PM ET

Saudi man disputes reports bride is 15

A 70-year-old man in Saudi Arabia who is the focus of outrage from human rights workers reportedly for marrying a 15-year-old girl says she's not a teenager, but a woman.

"She is not 15, as everybody claims," he told CNN on Tuesday. "She's 25 years old, and she's mature enough to make her own decisions. ... I was fooled by the girl's family."

The marriage came to light when the man complained to a local official after his new wife left him, saying the girl's family had taken her back and he'd been ripped off for a large dowry he paid.

In Saudi Arabia, there is no law that stipulates a minimum age for marriage, but human rights groups are objecting and promising to give her legal help if she is required to dispute the union in court.