Sentence passed over assault on Chief Rabbi of Sevastopol
The Leninsky District Court in Sevastopol has handed down a four year sentence with a three-year probation term to a 41-year-old resident of Novomoskovsk in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Roman Shvedov. In September 2007 Shvedov inflicted injuries on Benjamin Wolff, the Chief Rabbi of Sevastopol. The court also ordered Shvedov to pay the Chief Rabbi 5 thousand UAH for moral damages.
The charges were under Article 296 § 1 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism, fragrant violation of public order motivated by overt disrespect for society accompanied by particular arrogance), however on the basis of Articles 75 and 76 of the Criminal Code (allowed for a probation term in cases where the sentence is under 5 years – translator), he received the maximum possible suspended sentence with a probationary period of three years.
Shvedov fully admitted guilt, declared deep repentance and claimed to have committed the crime in an inebriated state.
The court established that on 28 September 2007 Shwedov had pestered Rabbi Wolff and asked him offensive questions about his appearance. He had then hit the Rabbi twice on the head causing concussion. The court added that he had deliberately caused damage to the Rabbi’s clothing before running away. His state of alcoholic inebriation was deemed an aggravating circumstance.
However the Head of the Jewish Religious Community “Khabad”, Jakiv Fradkin has expressed the community’s outrage over the failure by the court to take into consideration facts suggesting that the attack was carried out as a form of incitement to inter-ethnic and inter-religious enmity. Mr Fradkin said that the offence to the Rabbi was an offence to virtually all Jews in Sevastopol, that it was unacceptable, and obviously a nationalist prank.