Teen secretly takes legal action against parents
Escapes marriage with a man she had met once
"She is fearful for her personal safety" - judge
A 16-YEAR-OLD girl secretly took legal action against her parents to escape an arranged marriage.
The teen, who cannot be identified, asked a court to place her on the airport watch list to stop her parents whisking her to Lebanon and forcing her to wed a young man she had met just once, the Herald Sun reported.
The court said such applications were becoming increasingly common.
Federal magistrate Joe Harman said he was satisfied there was a psychological risk to the girl unless the court intervened.
"The young person's evidence makes very clear that she has expressed to her parents that she does not want to go to Lebanon and does not want to marry the person proposed," he said.
"She has indicated also in her evidence that she is fearful for her personal safety, that she has concerns as to what will occur in relation to her mother's reaction once she becomes aware of these proceedings."
Mr Harman said while it might be suggested the young woman had bucked the authority of her parents, she had displayed great bravery in seeking legal help.
"It is not the right of any parent to cause their child to be married against their will, whether in accordance with Australian law or otherwise," he said.
Mr Harman restrained the girl's parents from removing her from Australia and from harassing, threatening or intimidating her, or questioning her about the court proceedings.
He ordered that they surrender her passport to the court.
He also ordered the girl be placed on the airport watch list and Australian Federal Police maintain an airport watch for her.
The orders were made just two weeks before the planned wedding in the Middle East in April.
Details of the case have been revealed in a judgment published only this week.
The girl told the NSW court her father was aware of the proposed marriage but generally opposed it.
Mr Harman said that if she were taken to Lebanon, she would return married.
If the wedding were to take place in Australia, a court order and parental consent would be required because of the girl's age.
The Herald Sun reported last September that the Family Court had banned a 14-year-old would-be bride from leaving Australia.
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