Indonesia anger as judge jokes victims 'enjoy rape'

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There have been calls in Indonesia for a high court judge to be dismissed after he joked that some rape victims enjoy the experience.

Daming Sunusi, who is running for a post in the Supreme Court, made the comments during a fit-and-proper test, when asked whether the death penalty should apply to rapists.

He has since apologised and said he was trying to lighten the tense mood.

But politicians have since said they will not back his Supreme Court bid.

The Judicial Commission is investigating whether Mr Daming broke the code of ethics.

Mr Daming was asked during the interview for his views on whether Indonesia should introduce the death penalty for convicted rapists, currently a heated topic of debate in the country.

He was quoted as replying that rapists may not deserve such a heavy penalty as "the one raped and the rapist both enjoy it".

He later apologised at a press conference, saying he had "said something that no man should ever say, especially a Supreme Court candidate".

"I have three adolescent daughters and one of them told me that she is very embarrassed and that she felt as if she did not know me at all," he said.

'No empathy'

But his remarks have provoked strong reaction and calls for him to stand down or be fired.

"The comments were inelegant, inappropriate and unbecoming of a judge and a Supreme Court hopeful," one politician, Sarifuddin Suding, told the AFP news agency.

The Democratic Party, which holds a parliamentary majority, said it would reject Mr Daming's application to the Supreme Court, and that he should give up his post as head of the Banjarmasin High Court in South Kalimantan.

"We believe that he should not have said that, as a judge who makes decisions on behalf of God, he should not joke about law especially not when he was undergoing a fit-and-proper test to be a supreme justice," legislator Marzuki Alie told BBC Indonesian.

The opposition Democratic Indonesian Party (PDIP) reacted in a similar manner, with spokesman Ismayatun (who goes by one name) asking: "If he does not have any sympathy or empathy, how will he do his job in the future?"

The chairman of the Indonesian Commission for Child Protection, Arist Merdeka Sirait, was quoted by AFP as saying the comments were "insolent"

"It is disturbing that a judge, whose role is to protect the legal rights of women and children, could say something so audacious and consider it as a joke. He should be sacked," he said.

The Judicial Commission said Mr Daming had been questioned on his ethics, and that the panel would soon deliver its verdict on whether he had violated the judicial code of conduct.

Indonesian courts can currently give the death penalty for murder, terrorism and drug trafficking, but not rape.

Activists say rape cases are often not taken serious by the authorities or fail to reach a conviction.

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