Indonesian lawmakers said on Tuesday they would vote against a Supreme Court candidate who made controversial remarks about rape.
Daming Sanusi, a candidate for Supreme Court justice, told legislators during a vetting session on Monday that he did not think rapists should be sentenced to death, the state Antara news agency reported.
“The rapist and the victim of rape both enjoy it, so we must think carefully before imposing the death penalty,” Sanusi was quoted as saying by Antara.
An online petition circulated demanding that parliament disqualify Sanusi's candidacy.
“Our faction will not elect Daming, even though he has apologised and withdrawn his comments,” said Taslim Chaniago, a legislator from the National Mandate Party.
Hidayat Nurwahid, parliamentary chairman of the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party, said Sanusi's remarks had further tarnished the reputation of the judiciary, regarded as one of the country's most corrupt institutions.
“We are punishing him by not electing him,” Nurwahid said.
Sanusi, chief of the High Court in Palembang in South Sumatra province, later said he meant his remarks to be a joke.
“The atmosphere (at the session) was tense,” he was quoted as saying by Kompas.com news website. “It was intended to break the ice.”
The social networking site Twitter was abuzz with comments including “Rape is not a joke” and “Rape is never a joke.”
In 2012, Education Minister Muhammad Nuh was criticised for suggesting that some women who reported rape had actually engaged in consensual sex.
He made those remarks after a high school near Jakarta expelled a student who had been kidnapped and raped by a friend she met on the social network Facebook.
Nuh later apologised and said that his remarks were taken out of context. The school reinstated the student following public uproar.