Another assault on a gay person – Serbian Government still without systematic solutions against violence

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) expresses its deepest concern following the last of a series of frequent physical assaults based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which happened in the night of 25/26th November 2011 in the very center of the city, near the Republic Square.

According to the information about the assault which was reported to GSA by M.P. (26), as he left a bakery and was walking towards a nearby bus stop, a younger man, accompanied by two more young men, started calling out: “Hey, blondy! Hallo, faggot, where do you thing you are going?!” M.P. asked him what he wanted from him and told him to leave him alone, walking on towards the Republic Square. The assaulter, however, wouldn’t give up and, hurling abuse and homophobic insults, kicked him first in the back, and then hit him with fists on the head. M.P. tried to defend himself and to run away, but a friend of the assaulter jumped in. During one of his attempts to break free to the night bus, M.P. managed to call the police on his phone, but it did not deter the attacker from continuing hits and abuse. The assault which lasted several minutes did not provoked a single reaction from the passers-by nor the people who waited for the bus, which is something that is happening repeatedly and is becoming a rule in this kind of attacks.

The police arrived after ten minutes and interrogated the assauler on the spot, however, his accomplices had run away in the meantime. Although at first he denied that he had taken part in the assault, in one moment he started to threaten M.P. in front of the police: “Do you want me to beat you for two more hours?!”, but the police did not react upon it.

The policemen arrested the assaulter and took him to the police station, while they took the injured man to the ER where he was diagnosed with head concussion and prominent bruising above and under the left eye. The police released the assaulter at the end and pressed charges only for a misdemeanour.

GSA is particularly worried about the fact that after more than a month since the attempted murder of a girl who wore a shirt with a sign of the Pride parade, and the following protest against violence “It’s Enough!”, the Serbian Government did not form the interministerial commission which would create a national program for systematic fight against violence and discrimination, which it promised to do.

It has become even more obvious that the assaults and physical violence against LGBT population happen every day during the whole year, and that the number of the assaults is increasing. Therefore, GSA calls the Serbian government and other authorities, especially the police and the justice system, to start adopting and implementing systematic measures for decreasing violence against LGBT population and other minority groups as soon as possible.

GSA demands urgent changes in the Criminal Law and the introduction of hate crime, which would lead to severe punishments for criminal offences motivated with sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic of the victim.

GSA Info Center