A 16-year-old has reportedly married a 71-year-old woman against the wishes of an Indonesian community after threatening suicide if their families blocked the union.
Selamat Riayadi and his elderly bride named only as Rohaya are said to have got married in their home village of Karangendah in the western South Sumatra province of Indonesia.
As is the tradition in the region, the couple had to ask permission from the owner of the home in which the marriage was solemnised because the bride-to-be had been widowed twice.
The couple said their love for each other was so strong they would commit suicide together if the wedding wasn’t given the go ahead because ‘they were so completely in love, if one of them dies then both must die’.
After initially showing scepticism towards the relationship, the homeowner, who happened to be a community leader named as Kuswoyo, reportedly granted permission.
Both he and her brother gave in to her wishes to wed following the couple’s suicide threats.
The official minimum age for boys to marry in Indonesia is 19 but a loophole allows for any marriage within a person’s ‘religious norms’, but it is not clear who gave it the thumbs up.
The Muslim couple are understood to have formed a nikah siri marriage, recognised by society but not the state.
Because Islam has no formal minimum age on marriage, it only requires consensus that the would-be bride or groom has reached ‘maturity’.
The wedding video and photos were spread online and many Indonesians questions whether or not the union was real.
But an Indonesian media outlet claims it spoke to Kuswoyo, who confirmed both the marriage and the couple’s threats to kill themselves if they were barred from marrying.
He is reported as saying: ‘They said they wanted to commit suicide because they were completely in love, so if one of them dies, then both must die.’
The marriage is not believed to be motivated by financial concerns, as both newlyweds are equally poor.
His family made a dowry payment to hers of £11.50.
The video of the ceremony shows the young groom put his face in his hands as the union is proclaimed..
His new wife sits quietly beside him as the wedding guests go wild with delight.
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