Semarang Police name Syech Puji as suspect
Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Semarang | Wednesday, March 18 2009
Police in Semarang have concluded that 43-year-old Pujiono Cahyo Widiyanto, better known as Syech Puji, illegally married a 12-year-old girl and have named him a criminal suspect for breaching the child protection law.
After being questioning at the Women and Children Protection unit at Semarang city police headquarters both Monday and last week, police confirmed that Syech, a wealthy businessman and owner of the prestigious Miftahul Jannah Islamic boarding school, had illegally married Lutiviana Ulfa at a religious ceremony on Aug. 8, 2008 at his home in the Jambu district.
Ulfa, then in the eighth grade, consequently dropped out of junior high.
"According to the law, marrying a child below the age of 16 requires parental consent. In this case the religious court also rejected his *Puji* request for permission to marry the girl," said Semarang city police chief Edward Syah Pernong on Monday.
Puji told investigators an Islamic scholar and a book convinced him to marry Ulfa, but he could not prove either instance.
The underage marriage sparked strong protest from women and children's activists, with the Kompak group later reporting the case to police because they believed Puji had violated the child protection law.
Indonesian Child Protection Commission head Seto Mulyadi also met with Puji and advised him to postpone the marriage, but he did not heed the advice.
Semarang city police summoned him for questioning in early March. He arrived at police headquarters guarded by 10 personal bodyguards and driving an expensive sports car.