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Furore over Indonesian official's treatment of teen bride

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 6 Dec 2012 13:10 GMT
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BANGKOK (TrustLaw) – An Indonesian district head is under fire from the authorities and the public after divorcing by text message a teenage bride four days after he took her as his second wife, local media reports said.

Aceng Fikri, a 40-year-old father of three and district head of Garut in West Java province, married a local girl on July 14 in a Muslim ceremony that was apparently not registered with the Religious Affairs Ministry.

However, he divorced her four days later. He told the media that she was not a virgin and that he had spent 250 million Rupiah ($26,000) for the wedding, The Jakarta Globe said.

Aceng has since apologised after hundreds of people protested against him on Dec. 4, saying he never intended to be disrespectful to women.

“If what I did was wrong, even though it was allowed by Islamic law, then I deeply apologise to my family and my ex-wife,” the Jakarta Post quoted him as saying after a meeting with West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan.

According to The Jakarta Globe, the girl agreed to become Aceng’s second wife after he promised to pay for her to go to college and take her on an umroh (minor Islamic pilgrimage) to Mecca.

Even Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono waded into the debate, saying he was concerned about the case, and the Garut Legislative Council held a plenary meeting on Dec. 5 to discuss Aceng’s future

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