Court puts off hearing on attack during Equality March
The Obolonsky District Court in Kyiv has put off the trial of suspects in the attack on the activists of the Equality March on June 6 last year.
This is reported by the correspondent of the Human Rights Information Center.
“Judge Yulia Bevzenko is in the deliberations room now. She writes the judgment and cannot hear other cases,” assistant judge Vitaly Tkachuk said.
The next court hearing will take place on February 12. Four suspects, whom the Equality March organizers associate with the Right Sector, will face the trial. The law enforcers charge them with violation of Part 3 of Article 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (hooliganism). The article provides for imprisonment for a term of two to five years.
Meanwhile, eight LGBT activists picketed the court building, demanding to recognize the homophobic and transphobic motives of the crime and the actual prison terms for the attackers. The activists were holding the photos of people injured during the attacks on the Equality March last year.
The activists demanded that legislators revise the Criminal Code to stipulate the crime of homophobia and transphobia there.
“It is qualified as a hate crime in all European countries. It has two parts – the actual crime, here we had the attack on the peaceful demonstration, and motive, i.e. hatred, which is an aggravating circumstance. In Ukraine, the far right activists reason their illegal actions, their radical hateful views by so-called ‘civic stance.’ They use it as a mitigating circumstance,” explained LGBT activist Zoryan Kis.
According to him, the Criminal Code has Article 161 (violation of equality of citizens regardless of their race, nationality or attitude to religion). It lists the various features but lacks sexual orientation.
“This article is almost never used because our police are not able to investigate such crimes. They argue that the article of hooliganism still provides for a more severe punishment. The practice will not change till there are no real changes in the Criminal Code,” Zoryan Kis said.
“In addition, we protest against the fact that people who commit crimes, are hiding behind patriotism and protection of the interests of the nation and the state, because we are patriots also and we also appreciate the state,” the activist added.
The organizers are planning to hold another action of protest near the court building.
As reported, June 6, 2015, about 300 activists held the Equality March in support of the LGBT rights at the Obolonska embankment. Several far right activists attacked the rally, having wounded a policeman seriously and beaten several march participants.