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Top court backs moves to fire mayor

Official divorced 17-year-old via text

Parliamentarian Rieke Diah Pitaloka applauded the court ruling (File photo) Parliamentarian Rieke Diah Pitaloka applauded the court ruling (File photo)
  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • January 25, 2013
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The Supreme Court has this week backed moves to fire a mayor in West Java after he allegedly divorced his teenage wife for not being a virgin. 

Mayor Aceng Fikri of Garut married 17-year-old Fani Oktora as his second wife in July. Four days later he divorced her via text message, saying that she was not a virgin as he had expected.

Last month the legislative council of Garut in West Java recommended Fikri be sacked, and on Wednesday the Supreme Court approved the recommendation.

The decision on whether to sack Fikri now lies with the president.

The mayor’s act quickly became headlines and sparked protests in scores of cities nationwide.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling deserves appreciation,” parliamentarian Rieke Diah Pitaloka said yesterday.

The mayor not only humiliated women but also showed a moral bankruptcy among officials, she said.

Yuniyanti Chuzaifah from the Jakarta-based National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan, http://www.komnasperempuan.or.id/) said the ruling was a step forward in protecting and respecting women.

“Komnas Perempuan will always monitor the integrity pact in order to make sure that officials have perspectives and commitment to upholding gender justice, especially the elimination of violence against women,” she told ucanews.com.

But Fikri’s lawyer Eggy Sudjana said he would file a lawsuit against the Supreme Court, Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi and the legislative council.

“I will sue them and seek five trillion rupiah [about US$526 million] in compensation,” he told reporters.

The Supreme Court's ruling disgraced Islam since Fikri’s marriage with Oktora was in accordance with Sharia law, Sudjana said. 

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