Ukrainian Parliament criminalises anti-Semitism


Eastern Europe


Communal workers remove swastika symbols smeared onto the Sholem Aleichem monument in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo EPA, Sergey Dolzhenko

The Ukrainian government voted in favour of a bill that makes anti-Semitism punishable by law.

The initiators of the bill expanded Article 191 of the Criminal Code. Previously, the article forbade violating the “equality of citizens based on their race, nationality, religious beliefs, disability, and other grounds. The Union of Orthodox Journalists reports that the amendment explicitly adds "manifestations of anti-Semitism" to the list.

The amendment makes acts deliberately inciting hatred and manifestations of anti-Semitism punishable with a fine of 3,400 to 8,500 UAH (about 105 to 260 Euros). Some acts are can even lead to imprisonment for up to three years. If a public official commits anti-Semitism, these sentences are even higher.

The United Jewish Community of Ukraine welcomes the bill. On the Telegram channel of PavlovskyNEWS, the organisation says that it expects that the law “will allow law enforcers to qualify hate crimes more accurately.” According to the Community, many cases of anti-Semitism were previously seen classified as hooliganism.

Furthermore, the Community says that only 2 out of 52 cases of anti-Semitism resulted in criminal sentences last year.

In one of the incidents, a man tried to destroy a Jewish Menorah in Kyiv Maidan.



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