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28 February 2024

Court approves sacking over texted divorce


Indonesia's Supreme Court said on Wednesday it has approved the sacking of a district chief who married a teenager but divorced her within four days via text message, accusing her of not being a virgin.

Aceng Fikri, the head of Garut in West Java, has angered residents and rights campaigners after he divorced an 18-year old girl identified only as "FO" as his second wife, alleging she had lied about her virginity.

Following a wave of protests, the local parliament in Garut, 200 kilometres (124 miles) southeast of Jakarta, last month found Fikri guilty of breaching multiple laws in his marriage and recommended he be sacked.

The Supreme Court decided that the local parliament had legal grounds for its decision, court spokesman Ridwan Mansyur told AFP.

Its ruling will be sent to the local parliament before it is submitted to the president for final approval.

"The judges did not take into account our defence," said Fikri's lawyer Eggi Sudjana, adding his client was innocent and the penalty was too harsh.

"I must admit that from an ethical point of view, his act was wrong, but ethical violations do not bear any sanction other than social, such as being jeered at or insulted," Sudjana said.