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Aceng Fikri, Indonesia Official, Divorces Via Text Message To Teen Wife After 4 Days, Protests Follow

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ACENG FIKRI
In this Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 photo, Garut District Chief Aceng Fikri is surrounded by the press in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Kusumadireza) | AP

GARUT, Indonesia -- Hundreds of Indonesians rallied Tuesday to demand a district chief's resignation after revelations of his text message divorce to a teenage girl four days after their marriage sparked public outrage.

Aceng Fikri, chief of Garut District in West Java province, took 17-year-old Fani Oktora as his second wife in July. But Fikri, 40, quickly divorced her via a short text message, alleging Oktora was not a virgin when they married as he had expected. He said he spent about $26,000 on the wedding.

Students and rights activists in Garut spit and trampled on pictures of Fikri on Tuesday before burning them outside the local council building.

It was the second consecutive day of protests against Fikri, whose case came into the spotlight last week after a picture of the couple was posted on the Internet. On Monday, dozens of people rallied in front of his house and the council building.

Late Tuesday, the local council issued a recommendation for Fikri's dismissal, but the process will have to wait for a verdict by the Supreme Court.

Also on Tuesday, Oktora, accompanied by her lawyers, filed a complaint with police in the capital, Jakarta, accusing Fikri of domestic violence by holding her captive after the wedding and fraudulence for declaring that he was a widower.

A lawyer representing Fikri said they would file a complaint of defamation against Oktora, whom he said had signed an agreement saying she would not complain about the marriage.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reportedly discussed the case with West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan on Tuesday during a visit to the province.

Some Muslims believe in an Islamic ritual allowing men to end a marriage by telling their wives they divorce them. However, divorce by text message is uncommon in moderate Indonesia.

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