Outrage after Indonesian official divorces teenage bride
- 4 December 2012
- From the section Asia
An Indonesian official is facing calls for his resignation after it emerged he divorced a teenager by text message following four days of marriage.
Aceng Fikri, the elected head of Garut in West Java province, has publicly apologised amid the outcry. Hundreds protested against him on Tuesday.
Mr Fikri, 40, is married with three children and took the 17-year-old as his second wife in a Muslim ceremony.
He divorced her after reportedly discovering she was not a virgin.
"I would like to apologise to the public if women feel harassed, even though I didn't mean to harass anyone," Mr Fikri said.
He added that he was sorry "even though what I did was appropriately based on Shariah [law]".
Although not recognised in Indonesian law, unrecorded marriages, including religious ones, are common in the country. The marriage law says that women who are 16 can marry.
Fani Octora was 17 years old and still in high school when she married Mr Fikri in a Muslim ceremony in July that was not officially registered, correspondents say.
She reported him to local police on Monday, accusing him of domestic violence.
Mr Fikri told local media that Ms Octora was not a virgin and "doesn't meet the promised specifications so I sent her back".
He also says she signed an agreement to keep her silence on the matter and he paid her 40 million rupiah ($4,200, £2,600).
Protesters gathered at the Garut municipal building on Tuesday to demand Mr Fikri's removal from office, saying his actions were disrespectful of women.
Correspondents say there is no indication that the police will charge him.
Under local laws, the elected leader of a region can be sacked only under a complicated process that can take up to two months.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to look into the case.