A 16-year-old Indonesian boy married an elderly woman in her 70s after the May-December couple threatened to commit suicide if they were prohibited from getting hitched.
Selamat Riayadi and his newlywed wife, Rohaya, reportedly developed feelings for each other when the woman was taking care of him while he was suffering from malaria.
Women must be at least 16 years of age and men at least 19 to get married under Indonesian law, but officials in Karang Endah village in South Sumatra province permitted an “unregistered marriage,” also known as nikah siri, the BBC reported.
Video footage of the couple’s wedding has since gone viral online:
“Selamet is too young to marry but we married them anyway because he threatened to commit suicide. Since the boy is an underage, we have decided to carry out the marriage privately,” said village chief Cik Ani, according to AFP.
He added that local officials decided to break both custom and the law in order to “avoid the sin of adultery”.
Rohaya, who is believed to be between 70 and 75, is in her third marriage and has a number of children from her two previous husbands.
Riayadi’s dad passed away a few years ago and his mom decided to remarry.
“A team from the Social Affairs Ministry checked and found that they held an unofficial wedding, thus they don’t have a marriage deed. It’s not possible for them to marry in a KUA [Religious Affairs Office], because the groom is still underage,” Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa said in a statement on Wednesday, according to the Jakarta Post.
The minister added: “The law also says that marriage registration officials should not assist in a marriage when they know that there’s a violation of the minimum age requirement to marry.”