Cleric Gets Jail Over Sex With Child Bride

An Indonesian court sentenced a wealthy Muslim cleric to four years in prison on Wednesday for having sex with a 12-year-old girl he took as his unofficial wife.


Pujiono Cahyo Widiyanto, 45, from the Central Java city of Semarang, sparked nationwide controversy over his decision to wed Lutfiana Ulfa in August, 2008.


“The defendant has been proven to have had a sexual relationship with an underage girl, Lutfiana Ulfa. We sentence him to four years in prison,” judge Hari Mulyanto said.


Lutfiana screamed hysterically when she heard the sentence read out in court.


“We’ll appeal against the decision,” Widiyanto’s lawyer OC Kaligis said.


Widiyanto — also known as Sheikh Puji — said the girl had reached puberty when he married her in an unofficial religious ceremony, and claimed his actions were acceptable under Islam.


The age of consent in Indonesia is 16 for married females and 18 for males.


Indonesian law has harsh penalties for pedophilia, but unregistered marriages between older men and under-age girls are common in rural areas.

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