Official's quick divorce causes scandal

Dec. 6, 2012 at 5:25 PM
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JAKARTA, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A local politician in Indonesia has caused a scandal by trying to divorce his 17-year-old wife by text message after only four days of marriage.

The case came to light Monday when Fani Oktara reported her estranged husband, Aceng Fikri, 40, to police, saying he lied to her about his marital status and seeking charges of fraud and defamation, CNN reported. Aceng's lawyer, Ujang Sujal, said he plans to charge Fani and her family with blackmail, alleging they tried to extort money from him.

Aceng says he decided to divorce Fani four days after their wedding in July because he had discovered she was not a virgin when they married. He contends using a text message is acceptable under Islamic law, although many Muslims say husbands must break the news face to face.

Islamic law permits polygamy but the practice is uncommon. Aceng is a district head in West Java, and Indonesian law bans public officials from taking more than one wife.

Danny Suliwisjaya, representing Fani, said Aceng claimed to be a widower.

"If what I did was wrong, even though it was allowed by Islamic law, then I deeply apologize to my family and my ex-wife," Aceng said late Monday.

Protesters have been demanding Aceng's resignation.

Muhammad Ihsan, secretary of the Commission for the Protection of Indonesian Children or KPAI, said the case illustrates problems in Indonesia with sexual exploitation of children. The age of consent is 16.

"If a public official is allowed to get away with behavior like this, then the public will think this is acceptable," he said.

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