Lifestyle & Belief

Text message divorce sparks protests in Indonesia


Members from the Rajan Band, Kotla Mubarakpur prepare prior to performing at a wedding on November 23, 2011 in New Delhi, India.


Daniel Berehulak

A district chief who divorced his 17-year-old bride via text message just four days after their wedding has sparked protests in Indonesia. 

Aceng Fikri, the head of Garut in West Java province, has three children with his first wife, according to BBC News. He took teenager Fani Octora as his second wife in July, but the 40-year-old quickly divorced her with a short text message over allegations that she was not a virgin when they wed.

Tuesday was the second day of protests against Fikri, as the local council recommended he be dismissed from his position as an elected official, the Associated Press reported

His dismissal is pending a decision from Indonesia's Supreme Court, according to the AP. 

Octora also filed charges of domestic abuse and fraud against Fikri, saying he held her hostage after the wedding and lied to her about being a widower, the AP reported.

Ujang Suja’i Toujiri, Fikri's attorney, said on Tuesday that his client was also filing a police report against the teen in retaliation, the Jakarta Globe reported

“We’ll file the report on Wednesday on the basis that [Fani] has committed an unpleasant deed, and that there are elements of extortion, deception and defamation here,” Ujang told a press conference in Bandung.

“She [Fani] promised not to make any charges; that this problem was solved,” he added. “But just suddenly this five-month-old case re-emerged, without her first communicating [with Aceng]. This is purely politically motivated.” 

Aceng, a member of the Golkar Party, was discharged from the political group Tuesday. Garut is preparing to elect a new district head next year. 

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