Indonesian Supreme Court approves sacking over text message divorce

The Supreme Court of Indonesia has approved the dismissal of an official who divorced his wife via text message.

Aceng Fikri, chief of the Garut region in West Java, sparked mass protests in December when it emerged that he had divorced his second wife just four days after their marriage last summer. He texted an Islamic ‘talaq’ (announcement of divorce) to the girl, then aged 17, claiming she had lied about being a virgin.

When news of the divorce emerged, activists gathered to burn photos of Fikri and call for his resignation. The local authorities decided that Garut was guilty of breaking marriage laws and recommended that he be dismissed.

The Supreme Court of Indonesia has now approved this decision, saying the Garut parliament had legal grounds for the dismissal, thenews agency AFP reports.

Fikri’s dismissal will now go to the President of Indonesia for final approval.

His lawyer insisted that 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.”

Photo of Garut by java tourism via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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