Trial of Miša Vacić finally begins – Lazar Pavlović, GSA, testifies

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) wishes to inform the public that, after numerous postponements, today in the First Basic Court in Belgrade began the trial of Miša Vacić, one of the leaders of rightwing extremist organization „SNP Naši 1389“ (1389).

At today’s hearing Lazar Pavlović, president of GSA, gave his testimony, which mostly referred to Vacić’s public appearances and statements during the preparations for Pride Parade 2009, especially those where he claimed homosexuality was a disease, as well as the role of 1389 in preventing the Pride Parade from taking place.

Pavlović stated that all of that made him feel offended, endangered and afraid. He added that, because of such statements and the activities of the 1389 movement in that period, other people who also wanted to participate in the Parade were afraid and would not leave their homes for days.

Lazar Pavlović also testified as to the proposal which 1389 made to the media in September 2009, when they offered money in exchange for photographs of the participants of the pending Parade, which were later to be publicly published. That proposal, as well as calls for preventing the Parade, when 1389 stated that it was “an assembly of sexually deviant people”, was regarded by the LGBT population, as well as the wider public, as a call to lynch. Pavlović compared this to Uganda, when the media used to publish photographs of their most famous gay activist (with warnings to stay clear of him), who was subsequently murdered.

Furthermore, Pavlović gave the court an official statement from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, which states that homosexuality is not a disease. He also offered the court picture from Miša Vacić’s Facebook profile from before the Pride Parade 2009, which said: “There’ll be blood in Belgrade, there won’t be a gay parade”.

GSA wishes to remind the public that the case against Miša Vacić is based on the charge of spreading racial and other discrimination during the organizing of Pride Parade 2009 (Criminal Law, article 387) and illegal possession of firearms. This trial is the first case in Serbian legal practice that one of the leaders or members of rightwing extremist organizations has been charged with article 387 of CL because of violence and discrimination against LGBT people.

The next hearing is scheduled for 21 October of the current year.

GSA Info Center

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