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Yemeni girl, 15, 'burned to death by father'

Yemenis march during a rally in the capital Sanaa, on September 18, 2013.

Story highlights

  • A 35-year-old man was arrested in Taiz Province over the death of his daughter
  • The case is once again highlighting the plight of young girls in Yemen
  • Rights group: More than half of brides in Yemen are aged under 18
  • "Most incidents ... take place in rural areas where tribal law is applied"

A 15-year-old Yemeni girl was burned to death by her father for "communicating with her fiance," according to Yemen's Interior Ministry.

The father, a 35-year-old man, was arrested Tuesday in a village in Taiz Province. The statement did not clarify when the girl was killed.

The case, which activists are calling an honor crime, is once again highlighting the plight of young girls in Yemen, where child marriages and honor killings still happen.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than half of all females in Yemen are married off before the age of 18.

Leading child rights advocate Ahmed Al-Qureshi confirmed to CNN his organization, Seyaj, had been asked to investigate the incident, one he considered an "honor killing."

Honor killings are a problem in Yemen, a deeply tribal and conservative country, Al-Qureshi said. "Most incidents of honor killing take place in rural areas where tribal law is applied."

    "The government needs to deal with honor killing seriously," Ali Al-Bahri, a human rights activist, told CNN. Al-Bahri added that most honor killings in Yemen go unreported, "and suspects are never punished."

    "Tribal culture and lack of government awareness campaigns are key to the continuous spread of honor killings," said Al-Bahri.

    A written statement on the Interior Ministry's website said police had told the ministry that "the father committed this heinous crime against his daughter under the pretext that she was communicating with her fiancee."

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