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12.08.2011

Pro-Russian Radical prosecuted for anti-Semitism in the Crimea

   

 

In the Crimea the local prosecutor’s office has initiated criminal proceedings against the leader of the “Sobol Cossack Community”, Vitaly Khramov for inciting inter-ethnic and inter-faith enmity. This is the third criminal investigation under that article of the Criminal Code with respect to Khramov. After demands for her prosecution by Crimean Tatar groups, this time the Crimean Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities have called for him to be held to answer.

In February this year Khramov stated in an interview to the Russian information agency Novy Region and the murder of two girls in Sevastopol at the beginning of the year had been “of a ritual nature”. He claimed that one of them had been killing “according to Talmudic ritual”, letting out blood, and said that “according to the Talmudic canon it was the blood of Christian children and Christian virgins that was of particular value”. 

Such public statements from the leader of the “Sobol Cossack Community” have aroused outrage among Jewish organizations in the Crimea.

The Head of the Crimean Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities, Anatoly Hendich says that this caused “irreparable moral harm to all Jews of the Crimea”. Calling such statements incitement to inter-ethnic and inter-faith enmity, Mr Hnedich added that they provoke “hatred to Jews and are overt slander of one of the recognized world religions”.

At his application, the prosecutor’s office carried out a check and found there were grounds for saying that he had committed the deliberate acts aimed at inciting national, religious enmity and hatred set out in Article 161 of the Criminal Code.

Khramov himself claims that he is being persecuted as “an Orthodox Christian Russian – on the basis of his ethnic origin and religion.

Khramov has had two criminal investigations against her before.  The SBU [Security Service] and Prosecutor initiated investigations over incitement to enmity against the Crimean Tatars and Muslims. In July a local court fined him eight and a half thousand UAH (around 1500 EUR) for that, however the Prosecutor appealed against such a mild sentence. On 9 August the Court of Appeal revoked that ruling and sent the case back for new investigation.

According to police sources, the new investigation over anti-Semitism will, on its completion, be added to those criminal proceedings. There is, however, a legal clash since on 11 July migration inspectors from the Crimean police issued a decision to deport Khramov who is, it turned out, a Russian national who unlawfully received Ukrainian citizenship outside Ukraine. He lodged a claim against this decision and then an appeal, with the latter presently under examination.

Experts think it likely that the deportation procedure will be suspended and he will have to answer under the article of the Criminal Code on incitement to racial and other enmity. This is used fairly rarely in the Crimea (- and Ukraine as a whole – translator). 

Despite considerable publicity, not one of those in power in the Crimea has condemned the xenophobic utterances of the head of the “Sobol Cossack Community”

Very slightly abridged from a report by Volodymyr Prytula

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