New death threats to Gay Straight Alliance

Belgrade, 01.04.2014.

Gay Straight Alliance (GSA; Alliance) informs the public that it again received death threats, this time through the organisation’s e-mail. These latest threats are the most brutal that the Alliance has received yet, explicitly mentioning killing and slaughtering members and leadership of GSA.

Gej strejt alijansaYesterday afternoon and during the night, through the contact form on GSA website which automatically sends all messages to its e-mail account, GSA received two threatening messages of similar content, that threaten death, call on murdering GSA members and “cleansing“ Serbia of this organisation.

These threats call on members of Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and extremist right-wing groups Obraz and Naši to “take knives in their hands and start slaughtering all members of Gay Straight Alliance“. Then the messages call on cleansing Serbia from that “organisation of fags“ and “mercilessly killing“ members of GSA. The messages also insult the president of the Alliance and call for his murder. Both messages end with the words “And happy slaughter to you“, and they are signed – one with “Mladen Obradović“, the other with “Ratko Mladić“.

Gay Straight Alliance has reported these threats to the police and is asking the Ministry of Interior and all other pertinent state institutions to quickly find the perpetrators of this criminal act and bring them to justice. Alliance received other messages before, through e-mail or social networks, which were mainly insulting to the LGBT population, but we stress that we have never before received such brutal and explicit death threats on that way.

Twenty days ago GSA also received death threats via its SOS phone line, which is again something that had not happened before since the beginning of the organisation. However, according to the available information, this case is still in the Prosecutor’s office and has not been given to the police to investigate, which is being “justified“ by the slowness of the new Law on Criminal Proceedings, and so the chance to solve this case is now miniscule. Furthermore, in the meantime leadership of GSA were exposed to one at least strange and security-wise suspect situation, but with a timely police action it was adequately resolved.

Bearing all this in mind, GSA is taking these latest death threats very seriously. Considering that the Alliance works in a vulnerable area and that it has a long experience in working and also in facing various security challenges, this organisation is certain that in the past few weeks it has become a target for somebody. Regardless of who is behind it, and the possibilities are various, GSA is asking all pertinent state bodies to take what has been happening seriously, to react with urgency and to use all legal options in order to protect GSA activists and other human rights defenders and in order to prevent more negative consequences.

In the lynching atmosphere which is again being created in Serbia with threats to the organisation Women in Black and new lists of “traitors“ by extremist right-wing organisation Naši (as a reminder, GSA was among the non-governmental organisations listed on their first “black list“), the Alliance feels that it is necessary for state institutions as well as the non-governmental sector and international organisations to make maximum effort to create a more tolerant society, to finally sanction violence in our society, and to adequately punish those who commit violence and threats.

GSA will continue with its work on improving the status of LGBT people in Serbia in a professional and correct manner, as it has always done. But it is also asking the state and its institutions to clearly say whether they intend to dedicate themselves efficiently to a systemic sanctioning of threats and violence and to the protection of Serbian human rights defenders, or if we must defend ourselves on our own?

Info Centre GSA