07/05/2017, 18.18
INDONESIA
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Ageless love: 16-year-old man takes a 71-year-old widow as his lawful wedded wife

by Mathias Hariyadi

The 55-year age gap did not prevent the love story from blossoming six months ago when the young man moved in with the woman after his parents’ divorce. The local village chief sanctioned the union. Indonesia’s child protection agency expressed some doubts.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The love story of Selamet, 16, and Rohaya, 71, has, to say the least, broken some social conventions when the two, despite criticism, got married in Ogan Komering Ulu, a village in South Sumatera province.

The story has been on everyone’s lips, especially when the two threatened to kill themselves if they were not allowed to wed. After their neighbours expressed support, the two visited a local religious leader who agreed to officiate the nuptials.

Pressured by residents, the village chief on Sunday acknowledged the legality of the marriage despite the 55-year gap between bride and groom. Still, under Indonesian law, Selamet Riyadi is too young to marry. The legal age of marriage is 17 years.

Their love story began six months ago when Riyadi moved into the woman's house after his parents’ divorce.

Before getting married, the young man asked the woman’s only son for the hand of his beloved. The latter turned the question over to the village chief, who worked out a deal with Indonesia’s Child Protection Commission (KPAI).

The latter said that such an age gap is not a problem in itself, but it did express some doubts because the new couple would not be able to fulfill one of the purposes of marriage: making babies.

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