Punishment for violence is still minimal

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) believes that today’s convictions of members and supporters of extremist right-wing organization Obraz are extremely mild compared to the amount of violence and aggression during the Belgrade Pride Parade 2010 and taking into account that the punishment for the offenses in the Criminal Code are up to 12 years in prison.

High Court in Belgrade brought a verdict of six months to a year and a half in prison to the members and supporters of Obraz today, while the leader of that organization Mladen Obradovic is sentenced to two years in prison for organizing the violence during the Belgrade Pride Parade on October 10th 2010. After the verdict, all of them were released from custody until the imposition of final judgment.

Although this ruling is certainly important because it is the first time in Serbia that someone was sentenced because they organized violence and discrimination against LGBT people, GSA believes that the penalties imposed on the first instance are very mild and inadequate compared to the reported threats and aggression toward the LGBT population before and during the Pride Parade . We remind the public that violence during the Parade resulted in the injury of about 150 police officers, assaults on the offices of political parties, government institutions, media, and enormous material damage inflicted on this occasion.
GSA will have a final position on the verdict after its validity (final judgment), but has to express concern that the penalties in the second instance could be even smaller and reduced to a symbolic level.

Representatives of the GSA were present at today’s sentencing, where they were again subject to a variety of insults and curses of the present members and sympathizers of Obraz as was the case during the trial of Miša Vacić, leader of SNP Naši 1389. Today, however, they were repeatedly able to hear more severe and serious threats such as: “I’ll cut your throat, I’ll kill you!”, and the like. No one from the authorities who were present reacted to these threats.

For GSA, it is also very worrying that MPs and representatives of political parties New Serbia (NS) and Serbian Radical Party (SRS), who came into the courtroom with standard badges with the image Vojislav Seselj,came to the imposition of today’s verdict as a support to Obraz.

GSA Info Center