Brazil Attorney General's office files charges against lawmaker for rape comment

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A male lawmaker has been charged with incitement to rape for public comments he made about a female colleague on the floor of Brazil's Congress, the Attorney General's Office said Tuesday.

The office's website reported that Deputy Attorney General Ela Wiecko filed the charges on Monday against Congressman Jair Bolsonaro for "for publicly inciting the crime of rape."

Bolsonaro said last week in Congress that Representative Maria do Rosario, who had previously presided over the National Human Rights Council, had called him a "rapist" in 2003, but he would not rape her because she didn't "deserve it."

"His words encourage men to rape women they feel deserve to be raped," Wiecko was quoted as saying on the website.

Bolsonaro told The Associated Press by telephone on Tuesday he won't retract the comment, which he said was made in the heat of the moment over having been called a rapist.

Lawmakers in Brazil enjoy parliamentary immunity, which protects their speech, opinions and votes. However, the immunity would not apply to Bolsonaro because he made similar remarks later in an interview with a newsmagazine.

The press section of the Attorney General's office said Bolsonaro could be stripped of his seat if he is found guilty of violating congressional ethics rules.

Last week, Atila Roque, who heads the Brazil branch of Amnesty International, said Bolsonaro "crossed the line of what is acceptable."

"This particular congressman already has long been a provocateur, particularly in the areas of sexual rights, of women, of the LGBT population, of people who stand for other values," said Roque. "He has consistently been provoking violence and misogyny and sexism."