October 26, 2008 / 5:49 AM / 11 years ago

Indonesia probes reports of Muslim cleric marrying minor

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian child protection agency is investigating reports of a marriage between a Muslim cleric and a 12-year-old girl, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported on Sunday.

The newspaper said the 43-year-old cleric from Central Java allegedly married the minor girl with her parents’ consent in August and planned to marry two more girls, aged seven and nine.

The government-backed Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) plans to question the cleric, the girl, her parents, the minister who married them and witnesses of the marriage.

Under the Indonesian law, a woman must be at least 16 years old to marry. Marriage with a minor carries a maximum of five year jail term.

The cleric is a rich businessman who owns a Muslim boarding school in Central Java. He made headlines in local newspapers after donating billions of rupiah to the poor during the fasting month of Ramadan.

His first wife is 26.

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