Undeclared war waged by Sumy skinheads?
The Internet publication Vash shans [Your Chance] reports on a frightening case of arson committed against foreign – and black – medical students.
The article explains that over the summer posters appeared, calling on the local population to fight “the foreign plague”. Various races and nationalities, together with ills they supposedly brought, were mentioned, and even a website with more details about how to “fight” them, were provided. There was, however, no indication of who was behind all this.
The authors of the article say that they turned to the SBU [Security Service] but were told that this was not in the latter’s jurisdiction. The SBU suggested they go to the police. This they did, but while they were waiting for an answer, an event took place which heightened the urgency of the situation.
Around 23.00 on 29 August a fire broke out in one of the rooms of a hostel for medical students. The room was occupied by black students who were fortunately able to get out in time. Personal things, various office-type equipment, etc, were, however, destroyed.
The authors visited the hostel and found a swastika and the words “Go home” on both sides of the window. Since the police commandant refused to make any comment, they turned to the Vice-Dean of the Institute, Yevhen Korol. He said that the institute had obtained fencing and intended to put it up in the next few days, and that they were also significantly increasing CCTV coverage both on the student campus and around it. “The police are carrying out an investigation and we hope that the culprits will be found. A little before this10-12 skinheads in dark track suits were seen around the hostel. There are rumours that it was them who hurled the bottle with an inflammatory mixture through the window.”
The Sumy Regional MIA [Ministry of Internal Affairs] inform that a criminal investigation has been initiated over the arson attack, but as far as the racist signs around the city are concerned, they point to the SBU saying that incitement to inter-ethnic enmity is in the jurisdiction of the security services. They don’t understand why the latter is trying to offload their responsibility onto the police.
Meanwhile measures are needed
The authors point out that this is not the first run in between foreign students and the local population over the last two years. On 3 April this year the students decided to take revenge for the serious assault and robbery of a student from the Congo. They then used items to hand and beat up some Ukrainian students from the hostel who had nothing to do with the initial assault.
They add that if you read the comments on the Internet about the April events, you see that there are a fair number of people who are against foreigners. “If no measures are taken, and the search for neo-fascists is offloaded from one official structure to another, then the arson attack on 29 August will be far from the last.”
The authors go on to mention that racial discrimination in Ukraine “is becoming a problem”. The issue is, in fact, described in greater detail in material on the KHPG and UHHRU sites. With respect to the increased penalties introduced in November 2009, see, for example, Parliament increases liability for discrimination, and changes nothing
The law states that deliberate acts aimed at inciting ethnic, racial or religious enmity and hatred, denigrating national honour or dignity, or offending the feelings of citizens with regard to their religious convictions, as well as direct or indirect restrict of their rights or establishment of direct or indirect privileges on the basis of race, skin colour, political, religious or other convictions, gender, ethnic or social origin, property, place of residence, language or other grounds, shall be punishable by a fine of from 200 to 500 times the minimum wage before tax, or restriction of liberty for up to 5 years, with removal of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to 3 years, or without that.
Those same actions linked with violence, deception or threats, as well as if committed by a public official, shall be punishable by a fine of from 500 to 1, 000 times the minimum wage before tax, or restriction of imprisonment for 2 to 5 years, with removal of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to 3 years, or without that.
Actions committed by an organized group or causing grave consequences shall be punishable by imprisonment for a period of between 5 and 8 years.
The law in fact makes no significant change since the article of the Criminal Code is still phrased in such a way as to make it virtually impossible to prosecute people
See also the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union’s
Information about the situation in Sumy from the article