Humza Yousaf: If someone commits rape, they should go to jail
Humza Yousaf has said he believes all rapists should receive a prison sentence.
But he added it was important such decisions are taken by the independent judiciary, using the sentencing guidelines set by the Scottish Sentencing Council.
The issue was raised at FMQs by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.
Responding to Yousaf saying that 98 per cent of convicted rapists were jailed, Ross said: "It should, it must, be 100 per cent of rapists convicted of that crime going to prison. So let me repeat the words of the victim as my question to the First Minister: why is it ok for anyone to rape someone and not go to jail?"
Yousaf said: "I agree with the sentiment that if someone commits rape, they should go to jail. I believe that. But I also believe very, very firmly that it is up to the independent judiciary, it is up to judges, it is up to those in the High Court to make a decision about what the appropriate punishment is for an individual for the crime they have committed."
The exchange follows criticism of the sentencing guidelines rolled out last year which said judges much take into account a person's age when sentencing.
Under 25s should be given greater leniency in recognition of their “greater capacity for change,” the guidelines say.
Yousaf said the guidelines did not, however, bar anyone from being handed a custodial sentence.
Elsewhere, the first minister was also quizzed on the controversial Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs).
Tory MSP Donald Cameron urged him to “scrap these plans once and for all and start again”.
Yousaf insisted no community would have rules imposed on them which they opposed, and added that the government would not look over the consultation responses.
The consultation for HPMAs closed on Monday.