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Ukraine hands out first ever jail sentence for homophobic hate crime

November 16, 2021 9:50 pmby Artur Korniienko
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(Sergiy Savin/Facebook)

In July, four men attacked poet Serhiy Savin and busker Maksym Verba in Lviv, believing they were gay.

On Nov. 15, one of the attackers was sentenced to four years and one month in prison. It’s the first sentencing of its kind, according to the LGBTQ rights group Insight. Another attacker got a four-year suspended sentence. The two remaining men have not yet been convicted.

Ukrainian police are often reluctant to classify such attacks as hate crimes. Savin and Verba’s attackers had initially been charged with simple hooliganism. The charges were later modified to “hooliganism with a homophobic motive.”

Savin told Espresso TV that there are “thousands, if not millions of similar cases.”

Artur Korniienko
Author: Artur Korniienko

Artur Korniienko is a culture writer at the Kyiv Independent. He previously reported on Ukrainian literature, art, music, film and social issues for the Kyiv Post, including the controversial Babyn Yar memorial and other development projects opposed by the community. In 2021, he ran a podcast about Ukrainian migrant workers for RFE/RL on the Vaclav Havel Fellowship in Prague. With a Master's in Journalism from the Ukrainian Catholic University, Korniienko had also worked as a freelance journalist and a TV correspondent.

Tags: LGBTQ