ICARE Hate Crime News - Archive January 2013

Headlines 25 January, 2013

Headlines 18 January, 2013

Headlines 11 January, 2013

Headlines 4 January, 2013

Headlines 25 January, 2013

Right-wing extremists arrested in Naples for attacks (Italy)

'Mein Kampf read at meetings, illegal weapons, stabbings'   

24/1/2013- Right-wing extremists were arrested in Naples and other cities Thursday for allegedly organizing street brawls and recruiting young militants to their violent anti-semitic cause. Roughly 10 people were arrested in Naples, Salerno and Latina near Rome for crimes including attacks on political adversaries in Naples squares on various occasions in the spring of 2011. Other charges included possession of illegal arms and explosives, injuring a public official, instances of stabbing and beating, and hurling Molotov cocktails at a leftist youth clubhouse.

Some of the suspects were placed under house arrest, such as Emanuela Florino, the daughter of Michele Florino, a former senator from the defunct right-wing National Alliance (AN) party. "They were systematically indoctrinating young militants to hate foreigners and Jews at meetings in which, among other things, they discussed Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf," said Naples Assistant Prosecutor Rosario Cantelmo, who cited bugged recordings. Several more suspects were placed under investigation, as were the activities of the local offices of extreme-right group Casa Pound, which has been linked to many armed and bloody confrontations with leftists in recent years across the country.

The group is currently campaigning for seats in parliament in national elections. The national leader of Casa Pound called the crackdown Thursday unjustified, and said it was aimed at preventing the group from "tackling the campaign with due serenity and on even footing with other parties". In any event, said Gianluca Iannone, "they will not succeed.
© ANSA

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Russian MPs back 'gay propaganda' ban amid scuffles

The Russian parliament has backed a ban on the promotion of homosexuality among children in its first reading, amid scuffles on the street outside.

25/1/2013- Police made arrests outside the State Duma in Moscow after gay rights supporters planning a "kiss-in" were assaulted by opponents. The bill echoes laws passed by Russian cities such as St Petersburg. Human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva said its real aim was to "curb the rights of sexual minorities". The bill faces two more readings in the State Duma, after which it must be approved by the upper house (Federation Council) and President Vladimir Putin before it can become law. If passed, it would mean that across Russia events promoting gay rights would be banned and the organisers fined, the BBC's Steve Rosenberg reports from Moscow. Last year, Moscow's top court upheld a ban on gay pride marches in the Russian capital, effectively prohibiting them for the next 100 years. The European Court of Human Rights has fined Russia for banning such parades in Moscow. Homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993.

'No definition'
On Friday, police were seen making arrests after at least one man assaulted gay rights supporters outside the Duma. Images from the scene suggest that both supporters and opponents, believed to be militant Russian Orthodox Christians, were detained. Under the new bill, private individuals promoting "homosexual behaviour among minors" in Russia face fines of up to 5,000 roubles (£105; 124 euros; $166) while officials risk paying 10 times that amount. Businesses and schools could be fined up to 500,000 roubles. Yelena Kostyuchenko, a gay rights campaigner and journalist with the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, told AP news agency: "The law absolutely does not define what gay propaganda is and the reasons are understandable because gay propaganda does not exist. "In that respect, any information on, as the law puts it, 'equal values of traditional and unorthodox marital relations' is considered 'gay propaganda'."
© BBC News

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Greek Neo-Nazi Party Issues Diatribe Against AJC Visit

25/1/2013- The Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn said a visit to Greece by American Jewish Committee leader David Harris is meant to ensure further “Jewish influence over Greek political issues” and safeguard the interests of “international loan sharks.” Harris, the executive director of the AJC, is leading a Jewish delegation to the region that is meeting with several Greek leaders, including Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. During the meetings, Harris expressed his "concern and solidarity for Greece during the crisis." The statement from Golden Dawn, posted on the party's website Thursday, slammed the Greek government for giving Harris high-level access. “Just from the meetings, one can understand the influence of international Judaism on the Greek political scene,” the statement said. “The political leadership will once again express its total subjugation to the whims of the ‘chosen’ people." It also derided Harris. "The only solidarity of this gentleman is to his compatriots -- the international loan sharks, who are humiliating the Greek people. His concern most likely is related to the inability of Greece make the payments of the predatory interest rates of the vile loans,” it said. “We do not need the crocodile tears of a Jew.”

Golden Dawn swept into the Greek parliament with 19 lawmakers in last year's elections, campaigning on an anti-austerity, anti-immigrant platform that preying on the fears of Greeks who have seen the country flooded with immigrants amid a terrible recession. Greek and international Jewish groups repeatedly have condemned Golden Dawn as racist and anti-Semitic. Its leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, uses the Heil Hitler salute and has denied the existence of gas chambers at Nazi death camps during World War II. Another lawmaker read a passage from the anti-Semitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." The attack on Harris and a separate article titled “Absolute Evil” that was published on the party's website Friday appeared to be a hardening of Golden Dawn's anti-Semitic rhetoric, apparently in anger over pressure from Jewish groups to get the Greek government to reign in the party. The "Evil" statement said that blaming Golden Dawn for Greece’s woes constituted an attempt to divert attention from the real culprits for Greece’s financial crisis.

“They are none other than those who possess most of the international wealth. The people behind the international loan-sharks,” the statement said. “Everyone knows they belong to a certain race, which presents itself as a victim, while in reality it is the perpetrator. Everyone knows that they are none other than those pulling the strings behind the marionettes. They are the absolute evil for mankind.” The second statement ended with a threat. “The time will come when the nationalists of the Golden Dawn will take revenge like the horsemen of the storm, and all of them, being the absolute evil, will pay!”
© JTA News

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Sending out a Political Signal (Germany, opinion)

In this essay, Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, warns against the trivialisation of anti-Islamic tendencies and right-wing extremist violence, both of which are increasingly posing a threat to social peace in Germany

23/1/2013- In the wake of 9/11, a new brand of home-grown right-wing terrorism was able to emerge in Germany. Even specially drafted anti-terror laws didn't help because right-wing radicalism had been underestimated and sometimes even structurally repressed for too long. After the brutal right-wing extremist terrorist attacks in Norway, it became clear in Germany too that right-wing terrorists were capable of carrying out the worst attacks the country had seen since the Second World War. This led Germany's attorney general to say that the terrorist acts perpetrated by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) were "Germany's 9/11". There had certainly been enough early-warning signs pointing to this dangerous development. The problem was that they were not correctly interpreted and were sometimes even ignored. It is only now that we are slowly beginning to understand that because of indifference and political inconsistency after the events of Rostock and Hoyerswerda, Solingen and Mölln, after the arson attack in Ludwigshafen, the terrorist attack on Keupstrasse in Cologne and a large number of racist murders (such as that of Marwa El-Sherbini) and attacks on foreigners and Muslim facilities, this development facilitated and strengthened the NSU's terrorism.

At least 148 people have been killed in racist and right-wing extremist violence in Germany over the past few years. This is why the time has come for politics and society to at last admit that they have thus far underestimated and trivialised the phenomenon of right-wing extremist violence and to begin fighting it in a sustainable manner.

The beneficiaries of Islamophobia
In recent years, neo-Nazis in Europe have increasingly benefited from the underlying Islamophobic atmosphere in society. Evidence of this atmosphere includes Geert Wilders' populist right-wing Party for Freedom in the Netherlands as well as the NPD, the NSU and the extreme right-wing PI website in Germany, to name but a few. The fear of Islam and the spectre of the Islamicization of Europe are doing the rounds and are being used as a starting point for the recruitment of supporters and to whip up negative feeling towards Jews, Muslims and dissidents. Just like the murderer of the Egyptian woman Marwa El-Sherbini, the condemned Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik largely allowed himself to be led astray by anti-Islamic material and propaganda on the Internet, including known radical right-wing websites and pamphlets run and published by known Islam-haters from Germany.

So far, however, these findings have only been registered very vaguely by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. As much as we support a ban on the right-wing political party NPD, we feel that it must not be allowed to open up an "exoneration debate". The idea that once the NPD is banned, racism will have been eliminated is a dangerous trivialisation that only leads us to close our eyes to the everyday and structural racism at the heart of our society. This is why we need an annual anti-racism report that would outline – in the same way as Germany's human rights commissioner does – not only for the German parliament but also for the German public both the progress made and the threats that exist so that socio-political conclusions can be drawn.

Islamophobia as an element of racist crime
Above all, however, it is vital that we at last find the political courage to grasp the problems of Islamophobia and Islamophobic racism by the roots and officially declare them to be elements of racist crime. We owe it not least to the victims. After all, criminal offences and acts of violence against Muslims and mosques have increased drastically in Germany in recent years. Nevertheless, the Federal Government and the security forces still refuse to register such criminal offences separately. In doing so, they are obscuring the scale of Islamophobia. Exactly a year ago, during a meeting about fighting right-wing extremism attended by leading German associations and representatives of the Federal Ministries of the Interior and the Family, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) called for Islamophobia to be registered as an element of crime in its own right instead of just being subsumed into the category of xenophobia. This demand must at last be heard, especially as such a move would be advantageous not only in that it would make it easier to combat such criminal offences, but also that it would trigger an urgently needed process leading to a change in awareness of the issue in society.

Cracks appearing in society
If we do not recognise the threat posed by right-wing extremism and Islamophobia in our society and take action against it in the near future, we will find ourselves in exactly the situation Angela Merkel warned against just under a year ago at the memorial service for the victims of right-wing extremist violence: "We are repressing the things that are happening right in our midst (...) indifference has a stealthy, yet devastating impact. It creates cracks in the middle of society," said the chancellor on that occasion. But because the first signs of these cracks can no longer be ignored, we, not least as German Muslims, are worried about our country. After all, this indifference results in more than just nameless and faceless victims. Almost as serious as the victims is the indifference that smothers the voices of those who constitute the majority; the majority of decent people in our country, in civil society, politics, media, and authorities. So let us give these people back their voices and hope that 2013 will be the year that sees society growing together and the cracks being mended.

Aiman Mazyek has been chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD) since 2010. In 2003, he and Rupert Neudeck founded the aid organisation Grünhelme e.V. ("green berets"), which implements environmental, social and religious projects in former war zones and crisis regions.
© Qantara

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Attack against German-Jewish leader not anti-Semitism, prosecutor says

24/1/2013- German-Jewish leader Stephan Kramer is mulling an appeal after the state prosecutor determined that a verbal attack against him was not a case of anti-Semitism. Kramer, general secretary of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said on his Facebook page that he would ask his attorney to inspect the case files to see if an appeal is possible. The state prosecutor in Berlin determined that the incident was not of an anti-Semitic nature, according to news reports. Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the prosecutor, told reporters that the investigation has been discontinued. Kramer brought charges last fall in connection with the Sept. 27 incident in which he alleged that a man verbally abused him as he was walking to synagogue with his two daughters. According to reports, Kramer, who was carrying a prayer book, said the man told him several times to "get out of here" in a threatening manner. Kramer told the French news agency AFP at the time that he revealed a gun in its holster to get the man to back off.

On Wednesday, Kramer told reporters that he could not understand the prosecutor's decision. He said the incident also had been perceived as threatening by passers-by, who called the police on his behalf. The alleged abuser also filed charges against Kramer, but the prosecutor dropped its investigation into his charges last fall. The September incident occurred weeks after a rabbi in Berlin, Daniel Alter, suffered injuries in an anti-Semitic attack.
© JTA News

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Birmingham girl suffers racial attack (UK)

25/1/2013- A nine-year-old girl has written a heartbreaking letter describing her terror at being racially abused and attacked – all for refusing to have a snowball fight. Little Andrea Buchanan was punched, kicked and racially abused after she and three friends told a group of boys they didn’t want to play. The star pupil, who will sit her GCSE in maths and English before leaving primary school, has become withdrawn after the attack – the second she has faced in six months. The frightening incident happened just yards from Andrea’s Winson Green home at around 6pm last Friday as she accompanied three friends, who are all from the same family – Clarissa Smith, also nine, her sister Clariese, ten, and 11-year-old CJ – to collect food from a chip shop in Bacchus Road. As they waited outside, the boys asked them to have a snowball fight. When they refused, they were attacked and racially abused. Now mother Khalilah Usman fears her daughter will never recover from the emotional scars the ordeal has left behind.

Andrea, who is of Jamaican and Pakistani heritage, wrote a letter addressed ‘Dear Conscience’ after the attack. She wrote: “I wish I could talk to someone to describe how it feels being a young, beaten, black girl. It doesn’t matter if I’m black, we are all human beings. God made us all to love and care for each other. “This is the second time I have been beaten up for being black.” Mum Khalilah, of white and Pakistani heritage, added: “Her confidence has been badly damaged.” Neighbourhood Inspector Warren Little, said: “What started as an innocent incident with children throwing snowballs escalated and resulted in two young girls being racially abused. “We are treating this as a racially aggravated crime. Neighbourhood officers have spoken to the girls’ mother, have made local enquiries and are continuing to work hard in the area to identify the children responsible and their parents. “This area of Birmingham is a diverse, vibrant community and this type of incident is very rare. We would ask anyone who witnessed what happened or knows anything about it to come forward and contact us on the 101 police number.”
© The Birmingham Mail

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Gay chocolatiers forced out of remote Scottish village (UK)

Pair of homosexual chocolatiers claim they have been driven out of their remote Scottish community after suffering a decade of homophobic and anti-English abuse.
Gay chocolatiers forced out of remote Scottish village 


24/1/2013- Paul Maden, 45, and James Findlay, 40, whose luxury chocolate company Cocoa Mountain has attracted fans from Prince Charles to Yoko Ono, claim their lifestyle offended locals. The abuse began as soon as they moved into the area, they say, with neighbours stalking the outside of their home shouting “---- off you English queer --------“. But Kevin Crowe, the chairman of Durness Community Council, has hit back, claiming: "They are not the only gays in the village.” The couple are considering leaving Durness, in Sutherland, after they were taken to court accused of assaulting one of their “tormentors”, ferryman John Morrison. The case was found not proved by Dornoch Sheriff Court after Mr Maden pleaded self defence. Mr Findlay told the court that he had found the homophobic abuse he claimed he faced from Mr Morrison and his son Malcolm “really upsetting”. He said: “We constantly live in fear. We're looking to get away as quickly as possible but at the moment it's difficult because of the financial climate.”

The Morrison family denied the abuse and claimed the chocolatiers have made other peoples lives miserable. Mr Maden told the Daily Telegraph that the abuse began before he had even joined his Scottish partner in the village as the locals “thought he was English”. He said: “It was night time rants around the outside of our house.” Since then, he said, they have been threatened with death, physically attacked, pelted with seeds, and subjected racist and homophobic abuse and “gestures” – making the last decade “unpleasant”. “It is quite frightening when you are in a remote place, a lot of places you do not get mobile phone signal and you feel quite vulnerable,” he said. But Mr Crowe – an Englishman who sealed the Highland's first same sex civil partnership with his partner Simon Long – said he was “surprised” as he found the community friendly and accepting.

The chocolatiers live in the Balnakeil Craft Village, a former Cold War camp, and count among their neighbours a German porn star. Cocoa Mountain, which uses milk from Highland cows in its exotic chocolates, some of which are allegedly 'natural aphrodisiacs', and the couple have not made the final decision to leave as they rely on locally sourced produce. Prince Charles once asked the chocolatiers to blend his Barrogill whisky into a truffle, but they turned him down because they did not want to use preservatives.
© The Telegraph

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23/1/2013- London police have arrested two men in connection with a video featuring a ‘Muslim patrol’ in East London hurling abuse at a man for ‘looking gay’. Local Muslim leaders have condemned the group's actions. In the video, hooded thugs shout at a passerby in what is thought to be the Whitechapel area of East London, calling him a “bloody fag”. “Mate, don’t you know this is a Muslim area. What’s wrong with your face? Why you dressed like that for?” shouts one of those filmed in the incident. The victim, who appears to wearing make-up, can be heard saying, “I am a homosexual”. The hooded youth then replies, “You are walking through a Muslim area dressed like a fag. You need to get out of here.”

It comes after another video was posted by the same group, called The Truth About Saturday Night, in which white women were called “naked animals with no self-respect.” The same group has allegedly been seen in the Whitechapel area confiscating booze from revelers and confronting members of the public. Police have stepped up patrols in the area and have asked community leaders to help them. “We have also been speaking to local community leaders and influential people, local businesses and the local authority about the issue and what is being done, and can be done to address it,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman told the London-based Gay Star News.

Meanwhile local religious leaders have also condemned the groups’ actions. “The East London Mosque is committed to building co-operation and harmony between all communities in this borough. The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith nor on our streets. We will monitor the situation closely and our Imams will be speaking out against such actions,” said a spokesman for the Mosque.
© RT

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Paige Bain, 16, jailed over racist attack in Glasgow (UK)

A teenager who carried out a racial attack in Glasgow with her aunt has been jailed for 980 days.

21/1/2013- Paige Bain, 16, and 28-year-old Eileen Kennedy admitted assaulting Umaimi Musa in Royston Road on 3 September 2012. Bain also admitted assaulting Ms Musa's friend, Mary Marandran, who was then five months pregnant. She was aged 15 at the time of the attack. Kennedy was jailed for two years and six days during a previous hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court. The court heard how Ms Musa, from Darfur, Sudan, and Mrs Marandran, from the Congo, were sitting on a bench in a play park when they heard racist phrases.

Hijab removed
Bain and Kennedy attacked the women, during which Bain repeatedly punched the then pregnant Mrs Marandran on her head and pushed her. The pair demanded Ms Musa's mobile phone and tried to grab it off her after she told them she was going to phone the police. During the struggle, Ms Musa fell to the ground, where she was repeatedly punched on her head and body. Her hijab was also pulled from her head and her mobile phone was stolen. Police officers were called in after the attack was spotted by CCTV operators. Both Mrs Marandran and Ms Musa were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary to be checked.

Women injured
Ms Musa had a bruised left cheek, a grazed knee and a sore neck. Mrs Marandran suffered no damage to her unborn child but had some muscular pain. Kennedy and her then 15-year-old niece pleaded guilty to racially assaulting 41-year-old Ms Musa to her injury. Kennedy also admitted resisting arrest and claiming she had an infection before spitting on a police officer. Bain admitted the racially aggravated assault on Mrs Marandran, 40, by repeatedly punching her on the head and pushing her to her injury.
© BBC News

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Teens arrested after racist attack in Ashford (UK)

Husband and wife were out for a walk when assaulted in what is being described by police as an unprovoked and racially aggravated attack

20/1/2013- Four teenage boys have been arrested after a 33-year-old man was injured in what police have described as an unprovoked, racist assault in Ashford. The victim was walking with his wife at around 2.30pm today (January 20) in Sheepfold Lane, Park Farm, when a group of young people started throwing snowballs at them. When he asked them to stop they racially abused him and then viciously assaulted him. He has been taken to hospital with facial injuries and is understood to need an operation. His 31-year-old wife was also assaulted in the incident and received minor injuries. Police have arrested four boys aged between 16 and 17 and would like to hear from any witnesses.
© Kent News

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Bulgarian Helsinki Committee to File Lawsuit at ECtHR over Hate Speech by Ataka Party

22/1/2013- The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) will file a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) over the dissemination of hate speech against the Roma by nationalist party Ataka. In a Tuesday statement, the BHC states that it will address the ECtHR on behalf of three Bulgarian citizens of Roma origin. The human rights NGO reminds of the Katunitsa case in September 2011, when a criminal case led to anti-Roma protests all over the country, which caused Ataka to start distributing a particularly dangerous racist brochure titled "Gypsy crime�a danger for the country" alongside agitational leaflets in support of Volen Siderov's bid for Bulgarian President.

In end-September, the death of 19-year-old Angel Petrov, an ethnic Bulgarian, who got run over by a minivan driven by a man linked to the local Roma clan leader Kiril Rashkov, aka Tsar Kiro, unleashed violent clashes in the village of Katunitsa, and a number of rallies throughout the country The brochure disseminated by Ataka, without specifying the original source of the data, ascribes horrible crimes to the Roma by suggesting that the Roma community as a whole is a source of crime which endangers the country. The BHC emphasizes that the prosecuting authority in three subsequent instances refused to initiate pretrial proceedings over the case, despite the fact that incitement to ethnic hatred and discrimination is a crime listed in the Penal Code.

Bulgaria is also obliged under international and EU law to prosecute efficiently and impose adequate penalties to the perpetrators of such hate crimes. The abovementioned trial is to be the first of a series of such trials which the NGO intends to start at the ECHtR over the dissemination of hate speech by Ataka and its leader, cited in the BHC statement as "a party represented in Parliament and its leader who is famous for his highly xenophobic and racist talk." The next trials will be a continuation of the activities of the Civil Coalition "Citizens Against Hatred" launched personally against the Volen Siderov in 2006.
© Novinite

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Protest Against Russian Antigay Bill Turns Violent

22/1/2013- Supporters of a controversial Russian bill banning "homosexual propaganda" have clashed with gay activists outside Russia's parliament. A dozen gay rights activists had gathered in Moscow to protest the bill by kissing each other. A group of young men attacked the activists, taking away and tearing up their posters and shouting obscenities at them. The State Duma is to consider a federal bill that makes the dissemination of information about Russia's gay community to minors punishable by fines of up to $16,000. Several Russian cities including St. Petersburg already have adopted such laws. Lawmakers, government officials, and Russia's Orthodox Church have supported the bill, saying homosexuality clashes with traditional Russian values. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia 20 years ago but homophobia remains strong in Russian society.
© RFE/RL

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Portugal passes trans hate crime law

Portugal's parliament has voted to include 'gender identity' as a category of hate crime law  

21/1/2013- The Portuguese parliament approved a revision of the country’s criminal code which will ban discrimination and hate crime against transgender people. This addition to the criminal code was approved unanimously, following a proposal by the Portuguese Socialist Party. Hate crimes against trans people in Portugal have been recorded in the recent past, transphobic violence made headlines with the murder of Gisberta Salce Júnior in 2006. However, gender identity was absent from hate crime legislation. Portugal’s parliament has now added ‘gender identity’ alongside ‘sexual orientation’ to articles relating to aggravated homicide and assault. It also stressed the reprehensibility of these acts (and consequently strengthening the penalties) in case their motivation is based on the perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim.

The inclusion of ‘gender identity’ in the Portuguese criminal code was a long-standing demand of ILGA Portugal. In a statement, ILGA Portugal said: ‘We hope that the recognition of the particular vulnerability of trans people extends to the remaining legal system, also with the broad support of various political forces. ‘We welcome, in any case, this ground-breaking recognition by the Portuguese law, following the gender recognition legislation - and we will continue to work towards the full recognition and protection of trans people’. Portugal already included ‘gender identity’ in protection against work discrimination, which ensures no discrimination occurs to transgender people in the access to goods and services, education, health and social protection. On 1 March 2011 the President ratified the Law of Gender Identity, said to be the most advanced in the world, which simplifies the process of sex and name change for transsexual people.
© Gay Star News

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Headlines 18 January, 2013

2 Greeks charged with fatal stabbing of Pakistani migrant worker in Athens

18/1/2013- Two Greeks were charged Friday with the fatal stabbing of a Pakistani immigrant, which rights groups and mainstream political parties have denounced as a racist attack amid a surge in anti-immigration sentiment that has gripped recession-ravaged Greece. The suspects, both in their 20s, were charged with murder and weapons offenses. The men appeared before prosecutors who ordered their detention until they face a magistrate Sunday. They were arrested early Thursday, shortly after the 27-year-old victim was attacked by two men on a motorcycle while cycling to work in Athens. Police said the suspects claim they had no intent to kill the man, and that the stabbing followed an argument over who had the right of way. But several knives were found in the suspects’ homes, while one contained dozens of pamphlets for the ultra-right Golden Dawn party, authorities said. Golden Dawn entered parliament last year, rising from the margins of politics to gain nearly 7 percent of the vote, and is now polling as the country’s No. 3 party. It denies accusations from its political opponents that it incites racist attacks and maintains a neo-Nazi agenda.

The killing follows a spate of violent attacks on immigrants in Greece, which is the main gateway for illegal migrants to the European Union with up to a 10th of its population born abroad. The country is struggling with a three-year financial crisis, which has demolished living standards and eroded employment to the tune of 1,000 jobs a day. All mainstream parties have condemned the murder, and the Socialists — a junior partner in the three-party ruling coalition — on Friday called for the isolation of people instigating such attacks. “Justice will deal with the young suspects,” a party statement said. “As for those who have poisoned society with their racist, neo-Nazi rhetoric, (they will be dealt with) by all democratic citizens.” Human rights groups have recorded more than 70 racist attacks in Athens between January and September 2012. Most were carried out after dark in public areas and involved more than one aggressor. Amnesty International said Thursday the killing “is a result of the Greek authorities’ failure to take decisive action against racially-motivated violence.” A major anti-racist protest is planned in Athens on Saturday.
© The Associated Press

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Centre will study fascist and anti-Muslim attacks (UK)

A centre dedicated to studying the extreme far right and anti-Muslim attacks has been established by a university.

17/1/2013- The Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies, launched by Teesside University, will look at the historical developments of far-right politics. Professor Nigel Copsey, along with his colleague, Dr Matthew Feldman, will open the centre at an event to commemorate National Holocaust Memorial Day later this month. Speaking before the launch, Prof Copsey said recent developments in far-right politics led them to believe there could be more attacks like the one carried out by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway in 2011. "Over the last year there is no evidence for increased support for the far right. The BNP are fragmented and split and there is growing disillusionment with the EDL," he said. "All these developments mean we argue it could lead right-wing extremists to think of more extreme actions, like Breivik. "I'm not saying this will definitely happen but, because of the developments in the far right, there's a vacuum and it raises the potential for more violent actions."

The centre will also look at the opposition to far-right groups and how successful anti-fascist protests are, as well as far-right anti-Muslim activity. Dr Feldman said: "An important development in radical right activism this century is, without doubt, the turn from anti-Semitism toward anti-Muslim politics. "One of the things we will be looking at is a quantifiable analysis of far right participation in anti-Muslim attacks."
© Asian Image

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Kosovo Arrests Serbian Grave Desecration Suspect

Police have detained a man suspected of destroying Serbian Orthodox graves in Kosovo Polje but insisted that he wasn’t motivated by ethnic hatred

16/1/2013- A police statement said that a 48-year-old man, named as M. Buzuku, an ethnic Ashkali, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon for allegedly vandalising more than 50 gravestones. Police ruled out the possibility that ethnic or religious motives had caused him to damage the memorials at the cemetery in Kosovo Polje, saying that he had stolen some of the stones for personal gain. The suspect has been charged with larceny, the statement said. International organisations working in Kosovo have condemned the vandalism and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. The UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, said that “the destruction of graveyards in any community is contemptible”. UNMIK said that municipalities throughout Kosovo have recently been participating in a restoration programme for Orthodox cemeteries. “Unfortunately, such incidents seriously impede the progress achieved thus far,” the UN mission’s statement said. The acting head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo, Paivi Nikander, said that the desecration “highlights the absolute lack of respect for the dead and the ethnicity they belong to”. However the head of the Kosovo Polje municipality, Burim Berisha, stressed that the area was “multi-ethnic and secure for all communities living there”. The Serb population of Kosovo Polje has shrunk significantly since the war in Kosovo.
© Balkan Insight

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Headlines 11 January, 2013

Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Supporters Attack Turkish Consul General (Greece)

Greek right-wing thugs in Kavala smash up diplomatic car and jeer at Turkey's founder Ataturk 

11/1/2013- A group of neo-Nazi Golden Dawn members attacked the car of Turkish consul general to Komotini, in northeastern Greece, while he was in a meeting with the mayor of Kavala. Turkish diplomatic officer Ilhan Sener was jeered by 30 far-right activists brandishing Greek flags as he arrived for the meeting with Kostas Simichis in Kavala, the second largest city in northern Greece. As Sener tried to leave after the meeting, his car was surrounded by a small mob who kciked the vehicle and smashed windows. The Turkish consul managed to get away under police escort. Sener played down the incident, saying he had received a good reception "from Turkish and Greek authorities alike". "Such things will not break the friendship between Turkey and Greece," he said. "Our meeting with the Kavala municipality was about this in the first place. We were trying to find ways to have more Turkish citizens come and visit here." 

He said he could hear abusive chanting against the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, during the summit. "We could hear them all through the meeting - things that I would not want to repeat," Sener said. "These are a few Nazi sympathizers. They do not represent the Kavala municipality, they do not represent the Greek public," he said. "Those who chanted swearwords about Atatürk should know that he was the strongest supporter of amicable bilateral relations," Sener added. "Ataturk was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1924 - Greek leader Eleftherios Venizelos was the one who forwarded his name to the committee."
© The International Business Times

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Racial hate crime legislation urged (Northern Ireland)

10/1/2013- An offence of racially aggravated crime should be introduced in Northern Ireland, campaigners have said. Many incidents are being prosecuted as simple assaults or murders without hate motivation being included, making it difficult to gauge trends, a report said. Only 12 out of almost 14,000 hate-motivated incidents in the last five years were prosecuted under hate crime legislation designed to protect the vulnerable, it said. Ethnic minorities advocates published fresh research calling for a plan to overhaul the criminal justice system similar to that carried out in England following the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

The report by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM) said: "The overwhelming evidence from NICEM's experience supports the extension of racially aggravated crime to Northern Ireland as part of a package presenting a blueprint for the eradication of racism from the criminal justice system." The council launches its research, entitled Race and Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland: Towards a Blueprint for the Eradication of Racism from the Northern Ireland Criminal Justice System, on Friday.

NICEM claimed the rate of successful prosecution of generic hate crime in Northern Ireland was tiny. Its report said: "While this research has emphasised that it is not adequate to reduce issues of race and criminal justice to racist hate crime, this reality is even more deeply compromised in a context in which racist hate crime it not adequately or appropriately framed by legislation." NICEM said those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely than white people to be victims of crime.

Patrick Yu, executive director of NICEM, said: "Northern Ireland still lacks a blueprint or plan to rid the criminal justice system of racism, like the Macpherson report in the wake of the murder of Stephen Lawrence provided for England and Wales. "The importance of this is highlighted very clearly through the research, particularly when you look at Scotland, another devolved institution that was not bound by Macpherson, and yet took concrete steps to put the Macpherson learning into practice."
© The Belfast Telegraph

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Ulster police probe apparent hate crime (Northern Ireland)

Police in Northern Ireland say a woman was beaten with a baseball bat in an apparent hate crime in an area rocked by violent sectarian clashes.

10/1/2013- Police in Ballymena, about 30 miles northwest of Belfast in County Antrim, said they are looking for a masked man who attacked two women early Tuesday while they walked near a highway, UTV News reported. Authorities said the man was armed with a knife and a baseball bat and attacked from behind, hitting one of the women, a foreign national in her 60s, several times in the head with the bat. She required hospitalization, while the other woman -- also a foreign national said to be in her 40s -- escaped the incident uninjured. The Police Service of Northern Ireland appealed to the public for information about the incident.

The attack came only hours after Ballymena was the scene of sectarian violence, triggered by a decision taken last month regarding flags flown at Belfast City Hall, that flared through Northern Ireland. A majority of city councilors in December voted to fly the British flag only on certain days rather than year round, sparking outrage from loyalists and sporadic violence in Ulster. More than 60 police officers have been injured in flag-related unrest since the decision, with around 100 people arrested, The Irish Times reported.

The clashes escalated Monday when loyalist demonstrators returning from city hall had objects thrown at them from a nearby nationalist neighborhood. Before the incident, loyalists staged a protest march in Belfast's city center, forcing police to close roads and disrupt traffic in the commercial area. In Ballymena, clashes broke out in the same area as Tuesday's apparent hate crime. The latest incident brought a condemnation from Robin Swann, Ulster Unionist Party member of the Legislative Assembly from Antrim. "I was shocked to learn that two women were subjected to a violent attack by a man with a baseball bat in the Larne Link Road area of Ballymena at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning," he said. "Clearly the individual responsible is a danger to the public and must be stopped. I appeal to anyone with any information to come forward immediately and assist the police."

Loyalists said they were shocked at the decision to restrict the display of Union flag at city hall, which was taken by a city council majority comprised of the nationalist Sinn Fein and Social Democratic and Labor parties as well as the non-sectarian Alliance Party. Every unionist council member voted against the change. Politicians from all parties since then have received death threats, including a bullet and sympathy card mailed to SDLP Assembly Member Patsy McGlone, the newspaper said. At a council meeting Monday, Sinn Fein's Jim McVeigh declared he wouldn't be swayed by threats or protests. "Their protests are pointless and they will have absolutely no impact on decisions that we take," he said, adding that while nationalists would respect British tradition, that respect was "not one way."
© United Press International

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Firebomb horror as racist thugs attack Pakistani shop worker's home (UK)

Jahan Tayyab and his friends were left hanging out of windows to escape choking smoke in the latest of a string of attacks.

8/1/2013- An Asian shop worker has told of the horror moment racist thugs firebombed his home. Jahan Tayyab and his housemates were trapped upstairs and had to hang out windows gasping for air because the smoke was so thick. Muslim Jahan, 24 – who emigrated to Scotland from Pakistan five years ago – and his friends were sleeping when the thugs torched the front door of their end terrace home in Alloa. Police are treating the incident, which happened at around 5am on Sunday, as racially motivated.

Engineering graduate Jahan shares the home with fellow Pakistani store worker Zubair Ahmed and Indian pal Tara Singh, who is known as Tony. Jahan said: “Tony had gone to the bathroom and that’s when he heard the alarm. “He shouted, ‘There is smoke everywhere – come out’. I opened my door and I couldn’t see. “My housemates asked me if I’d left anything on in the kitchen and I said, ‘No’. We realised something was very wrong. “When I tried to look downstairs, I saw the flames coming through the front door. But I didn’t want to take the risk of going down. It was hard to breathe and the smoke was really thick.”

The three men hung out windows as they waited to be rescued. Jahan said: “We all went to get air and we called the fire brigade. They soon arrived and got us out through the front door.” Jahan, Tony and Zubair had medical treatment and gave statements at the police station. Jahan insists they are fortunate to be alive and revealed how the firebombing is not first time their home has been targeted by vandals. Windows have also been smashed in recent weeks. Jahan said: “We were lucky that Tony woke up because if you’re sleeping and you breathe in the smoke, you just remain unconscious. Anything could have happened. “We have wee incidents happening all the time at the store, for example when we refuse an alcohol sale. But never anything like this. 

“We’re not sure if we’re going to move back in. I don’t think I would feel safe if I moved back in there. “Stuff like this is now happening to us every few weeks.”
The targeted home is owned by Jahan’s boss, Mohammed Amin. The shopkeeper, 42, said: “I haven’t managed to get back in to survey the damage yet because the police are still holding the key.” A spokeswoman for Central Police confirmed they are treating the latest attack as racially motivated. She added: “All three occupants were male and were removed from the property safely. None of them suffered any injuries. “Our investigation is ongoing.”
© The Daily Record

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German racism made the transition racial hatred to religious enmity

A new study warns that Islamophobia in Germany becoming culturally acceptable, as racism moves away from ethnicity towards religious bias against Muslims.

7/1/2013- “It’s no longer ‘the Turks’ but ‘the Muslims’,” Wilhelm Heitmeyer, head of the institute for research of interdisciplinary conflict and violence at Bielefeld University told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Monday. Research has led him to be concerned general xenophobia had given way to a growing rejection of Islam in Germany. His theory is not new – a study from Münster university found that in 2010, 66 percent of western Germans and 74 percent of eastern Germans had a negative attitude towards Muslims. And a more recent study from the Allensbach Institute suggested that this had not changed over the past two years, as only 22 percent of Germans asked said they agreed with Germany’s ex-President Christian Wulff’s statement that Islam, like Christianity, was a part of Germany. Heitmeyer also found that Islamophobia seemed to exist not only in the far-right, but was also present in more left-leaning and centrist circles. The sentiment was identifiable throughout the country, from the highest echelons of society to the lowest.

Neo-Nazi expert from Düsseldorf technical university Alexander Häusler told the newspaper that while discriminating against an entire ethnicity was a taboo, religion-based racism was generally considered to be exercising freedom of opinion. “Criticism of Islam or Muslims appear acceptable, because it is not seen as classically racist,” said Häusler. German Muslims have too voiced concern about growing anti-Islamic sentiment. Head of the Central Council for Muslims in Germany Aiman Mazyek told theNeue Osnabrücker Zeitung that police and intelligence officials still refuse to acknowledge violent attacks towards Muslims independently, instead grouping it generally with xenophobia. “By doing this, hostility against Islam is being blurred out,” said Mazyek. He added that the government should publish a yearly racism report.
© The National Turk

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Hate crimes are so difficult to prove that Sweden sees few convictions, illustrated by the southern city of Malmö not issuing a single guilty sentence despite a "record number" of complaints in the last two years.

7/1/2013- Most reports of hate crime filed nationwide concerned xenophobia, although homophobic motives and targeting a person based on their religious affiliation were also common, showed statistics from the Crime Prevention Council (Brottsförebyggande rådet, Brå). A total of 4,590 hate crimes were reported to the police in 2012. The law does not, however, make hate crime an offense in its own right, but is considered an aggravating circumstance that can lead to tougher sentencing. Yet the discriminatory aspect of committed crimes is hard to prove.

Regional newspaper Sydsvenskan reports that Malmö processed a "record" 480 hate crime complaints in a two-year span. But charges were filed in only 16 cases and none of the indictments led to a conviction. None of the 44 anti-Semitic hate crimes reported in 2010 and 2011 even made it to a prosecutor, while one of the 23 reported islamophobic crimes resulted in criminal charges. In addition, charges were filed in only two of 30 reported cases involving homophobia, but in both cases, the court ultimately ruled there wasn't enough evidence to prove a hate crime had taken place.

Hate crime researcher Jenny Kiiskinen at Malmö College thinks it important that the justice system backs up effort on regional level to encourage people to report hate crimes. “It’s important that the reports lead somewhere and aren't just written off,” she told the TT news agency. “It’s important for the individual but also for society.” In addition to collecting crime statistic, the Crime Prevention Council does independent research into perceived offences, some of which are never reported to the police.

In 2010, the survey showed that 81,000 Swedes said they had been subjected to xenophobic crimes, while 19,000 said they were targeted by homophobes. The challenge in reaching a conviction when people do report crime, however, lies in how to prove an assailant’s motive. ”That the problem, it is in general very difficult to prove a motive,” Göran Hellstrand at the Prosecutor’s Office (Åklagarmyndigheten) development wing in Malmö told TT.
© The Local - Sweden

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Austrian Jewish leader warns anti-Semitism on rise

Oskar Deutsch tells the Kurier newspaper that the Jewish community registered 135 anti-Semitic incidents last year, compared to 71 in 2011

7/1/2013- The leader of Vienna's Jewish community says the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Austria reported to his office have doubled over the past year and adds that Jews are under duress elsewhere in the EU as well. Oskar Deutsch tells the Kurier newspaper that the Jewish community registered 135 such incidents last year, compared to 71 in 2011. In comments published Monday, he named Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France and Greece as the EU countries where Jews are most under threat, adding that fearful Jewish families in Hungary have recently started to immigrate to Austria.

On Saturday, Austrian newspaper reported that Vienna’s Jewish Museum holds hundreds of books and works of art that may have been stolen by Nazis. A screening program that started in 2007, years after other Austrian museums began combing their collections for works taken from their rightful owners, has determined that about 500 works of art and 900 books are of dubious origin, Der Standard said.

It cited in particular paintings by Jehudo Epstein, who, while abroad in 1936, entrusted 172 works to industrialist Bernhard Altmann for safekeeping. Altmann fled the country in 1938 when Nazi Germany annexed Austria, and his factory was “Aryanized,” the paper said. The Nazis confiscated the paintings and in some cases erased the signature of the artist.

Epstein died in South Africa in 1945. After 1947, his widow tried in vain to track down the paintings, some of which were later sold at auction by Dorotheum, a huge Austrian auction house, the paper said. One of them, “Madchen mit blonden Zopfen” ‏(The Girl With Blonde Braids‏), was purchased by gallery owner and restaurateur Kurt Kalb. Several others are now in the Jewish Museum’s collection, the paper said, citing information it got from the museum after many requests.
© The Associated Press

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Serbian Orthodox Graves Vandalised in Croatia

Attackers have damaged several graves, crosses and tombstones at a Serbian Orthodox cemetery in the Croatian town of Knin.

7/1/2013- The attack took place on January 2, the day after a window was broken at the offices of the Serbian cultural society Prosveta in Knin, the Dalmatian Orthodox Eparchy said on Friday. Knin's deputy mayor Tomislav Vrdoljak condemned the incidents, saying that they "don't represent the image of coexistence of Croats and Serbs in Knin". "Peaceful coexistence, which the Knin city administration has been successfully building for years, could be the example for other cities," Vrdoljak told journalists. Police spokesperson Marica Kosor said officers were searching for the vandals. The town of Knin is symbolically important both for Croats and Serbs. In the former Yugoslavia, it was mainly populated by Serbs. During the war in Croatia from 1991 to 1995, it became the centre of the self-proclaimed Serb-run Republic of Srpska Krajina, and almost all non-Serb residents were forced to leave. In August 1995, during the military operation codenamed Storm, Croatian forces took Knin and almost all of its Serbs fled. Today around half of the town’s population are Serbs and half Croats.
© Balkan Insight

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Headlines 4 January, 2013

Man in court for 'trying to stab teenager to death in racist attack' (UK)

A man is to stand trial charged with trying to kill a teenager in a racist attack.

4/1/2012- Michael McPhee is accused of attempting to murder Ejaz Mohammad in North Lanarkshire last year. The 20-year-old allegedly repeatedly struck Mr Mohammad on the body with a knife as well as threatening him and punching him on the head. During a preliminary hearing at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday, the Crown accused McPhee of attacking the 17-year-old in a racially aggravated incident. He is also charged with issuing racist threats and abuse towards Usman Aslam in Coatbridge on March 2, 2012. Tony Graham, defending, said McPhee, of Cheviot Court, Coatbridge, was pleading not guilty to the accusations. Judge Lord Burns set a trial due to take place in April this year. The case is expected to last up to five days.
© STV Glasgow

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Police investigate hate crimes on central Scotland trains (UK)

British Transport Police are investigating two unconnected hate crime incidents on board trains in central Scotland.

3/1/2013- Both incidents took place on Saturday. Officers said two men racially abused a man and another couple on the 19:44 Glasgow to Dunblane service. They are also investigating an attack on a 46-year-old man by a group of five men, after he challenged them over sectarian chanting on the 20:18 Glasgow to Alloa train. British Transport Police said the men involved in the first incident, which took place at about 20:20, got off the train at Stirling and were both aged between 30 and 40, with very short hair and dark clothing.

Victim injured
PC Ross Falconer said: "I would appeal for anyone who was on the train, at the stations, or has any information regarding the identity of those responsible for this unacceptable and unprovoked racial abuse, to contact me." The victim of the second incident, who was travelling with his family, suffered a facial injury and a cut to his head but did not need to go to hospital. His attackers got off the train at Stirling. One of the men is described as stocky with short brown hair and wearing a khaki body warmer. A second man was described as being about 50-years-old and wearing dark clothes. A third man was about 5ft 10in and wore a quilted jacket. Investigating officer Derek Jackson said: "The victim was subjected of a deplorable attack and I am anxious to trace those responsible as a matter of urgency."
© BBC News

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Woman jailed after pulling hijab from victim in racist attack (UK)

1/1/2013- A woman who launched a racist attack against a Muslim and pulled her hijab from her head as she robbed her of her phone has been jailed for more than two years. Eileen Kennedy, 28, and her 16-year-old niece Paige Bain assaulted Umaimi Musa in Glasgow in September.
The teenager also assaulted Ms Musa’s friend, Mary Marandran, who was five months pregnant with her third child. The victims were sitting in a playpark when they heard one of the accused make racist comments before they were ­attacked. The incident was captured on CCTV and the camera operator alerted the police as the incident happened. Passing a sentence of two years and six days on Kennedy yesterday, Sheriff Kenneth Mitchell told her: “There is no place at all in a modern Scotland for this sort of behaviour. “This is a very serious matter. Your conduct was wholly unacceptable, and conduct of this sort can only result in a custodial sentence. “You joined in a sustained attack upon this lady and robbed her of her mobile phone.”

Social work reports had been requested by the sheriff before passing sentence, but Bain’s was not ready. She will return to be sentenced next month. Kennedy and her niece pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to racially assaulting 41-year-old Ms Musa to her injury. Kennedy also pled guilty to resisting arrest and claiming she had an infection before spitting on a police officer. Bain admitted the racially ­aggravated assault on Mrs Marandran, 40, by repeatedly punching her on the head and pushing her to her injury. The court heard Ms Musa, from Darfur, Sudan, and Mrs ­Marandran, from the Congo, were sitting on a bench when they heard the racist phrases, which were the precursor to the assaults. Procurator fiscal depute Mark Allan, prosecuting, said: “The second named accused, Bain, repeatedly punched the then pregnant Mrs Marandran on her head and pushed her.”

He told the court that both accused demanded Ms Musa’s mobile phone and tried to grab it from her after she told them she was going to phone the police. Mr Allan said she was punched on the head which caused her to fall to the ground. He added: “Once on the ground, she was repeatedly punched on her head and body. Her hijab was pulled from her head and she was robbed of her mobile telephone.” Both Mrs Marandran and Ms Musa were taken to the Royal Infirmary hospital, in Glasgow, to be checked. Ms Musa had a bruised left cheek, a grazed knee and a sore neck. Mrs Marandran suffered no damage to her unborn baby but had some muscular pain. Defence lawyer Marco Buonaccorsi told the court Kennedy had been on a four-day drinking binge before the incident. He told the court the CCTV footage showed she initially tried to keep her niece from attacking the women and became involved when they were told the police would be contacted. He added she had shown remorse for her actions.
© The Scotsman

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Burgess Hill man arrested in suspected Brighton racist attack (UK)

1/1/2013- A 23-year-old man is recovering in hospital after a suspected racially aggravated assault in Brighton on New Year's Day. The man, from Brighton, received a serious eye injury following a fight in the area of the M&A convenience store in Lewes Road around 3.25am. Detectives believe that he and his friend were attacked by a group of men who ran from the scene as police arrived. Officers, who had been flagged down by a member of the public and alerted to a fight, caught and detained one of the group. Detective Inspector Miles Ockwell said: "I would like anyone who witnessed the fight or who may have seen a group of men in the area in the time leading up to it, especially if they witnessed any form of confrontation before the incident, to contact us on 101 quoting serial 624 of 01/01. "This was a very serious assault and the victim remains in the Royal Sussex County Hospital where he may lose an eye as a result of the attack. We believe that racist language was directed towards the victim and his friend before they were attacked and we are keen to establish the exact circumstances." A 19-year-old man from Burgess Hill was arrested on suspicion of GBH, possesion of Class A drugs and possession of cannabis. He was questioned and has now been released on bail until March 6.
© Burgess Hill People

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Nazi slogans scrawled on Toulouse wall (France)

3/1/2013- Unidentified individuals scrawled anti-Semitic slogans on the wall of an association of psychoanalysts in Toulouse, France. The culprits wrote: “SS,” “get out of here,” and painted a swastika on the outer wall of the Toulouse branch of the Société Psychanalytique de Paris, the French news agency AFP reported on Jan. 2. On Oct. 12, 2012, the words “dirty Jews, I will kill you” and “get out of here” were scrawled on the association’s door. The SPCJ, the security unit of French Jewish communities, has reported a substantial increase in the prevalence of anti-Semitic attacks in France since the March 19, 2012 killing of four Jews at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Mohamed Merah, a Muslim radical, gunned down a rabbi and three children in front of the Otzar Hatorah school, which has since changed its name to Ohr Hatorah. The increase in incidents, which SPCJ termed “an explosion of anti-Semitic attacks,” followed a 16 percent decline in anti-Semitic incidents in 2011. A study released by SPCJ together with the French Interior Ministry recorded 389 incidents of anti-Semitism in 2011, compared to 466 in 2010, making it the lowest number in ten years. There are between 483,000 and 500,000 Jews in France, according to the European Jewish Congress.
© JTA News

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Paris Police Arrest Man in Anti-Semitic Attack (France)

30/12/2012- Police in Paris reportedly arrested a man on suspicion that he participated in attacking a Jewish man outside a synagogue. The suspect was apprehended shortly after he and the other three attackers, who escaped, allegedly attacked the 47-year-old Jew on Dec. 20 as the victim was coming out of a synagogue in the French capital’s 19th Arrondissement, the French daily Le Parisian reported. The officers were stationed outside the synagogue because of frequent attacks on Jewish institutions and individuals in and around Paris. The culprits continued to hit the man as he was on the ground, the report said. It quoted a source as saying that it was not certain that the attack was anti-Semitic in nature but that this was being investigated.
© JTA News

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Slovakia: Romani man decapitated while still alive

1/1/2013- Slovakia has been shaken by the brutal murder of 37-year-old Daniel Horváth, a Romani man who was decapitated while still alive, according to a court autopsy. Last Friday police charged three men aged 17, 18 and 39 with Horvath's murder. "The suspects face between 20 and 25 years in prison, with the possibility of life in prison," said Nitra police spokesperson Renáta Čuháková. The murder took place a week ago in the village of Žihárec. The headless body was found several days later near the village of Šoporņa (Galanta district).

Horvath's relatives began looking for him two days before Christmas because he had not yet returned home for the holidays. "We went to ask whether they hadn't locked him into the bar where he'd been, to see if he was sleeping there, but all that was found there was his t-shirt. Ever since then we've just been looking for him everywhere," a relative said. The family gradually found out what is alleged to have taken place. "They kicked him around before the massacre. I heard they took him back to their home in a wheelbarrow," the relative said.

According to the available information, Daniel got into a conflict with three men in a local pub. After beating him up, the men put him in a wheelbarrow and brought him to the nearby home of the pub owner, where they allegedly decapitated him while he was still alive. The murderers then transported his body to Šoporņa and threw him into the cesspool behind the village. His head was found there as well. Daniel is survived by his common-law wife and their five-year-old daughter. In the village where the cruel murder took place, the atmosphere is tense and police officers are on 24-hour patrol. Relatives of the arrested suspects fear Daniel's family will take revenge on them.

František Tanko, chair of the Romani Union Party in Slovakia (Strana romské unie na Slovensku) expressed his sincere condolences to the victim's family. "Dear friends, we can see that the hatred on the part of whites against us Romani people is increasing. We sharply condemn this crime and we express our condolences to the family of the deceased," Tanko wrote in a statement published on the Facebook profile of the Romani newspaper Romano nevo ¾il. Tanka also said Horváth had been a party member.

The men charged are the owner of the local bar (aged 39), who is also a trained butcher, his 17-year-old son, and his son's 18-year-old friend. "The detective has initiated criminal proceedings in the matter of this particularly serious murder," the police spokesperson said. No one knows yet why the trio murdered Daniel in such a brutal way. The father of the 18-year-old suspect told journalists his son had been home throughout the entire Christmas holiday and behaved as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. "Neither I nor my wife observed anything different about him at all," the father admitted. According to the Joj television station, the 39-year-old suspect is a professional butcher who has broken the law before. He is said to have once shot and seriously injured an adult female victim.
© Romea

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Woman charged with "murder as a hate crime" in fatal subway pushing (USA)

A woman suspected of shoving a man to his death in front of an oncoming New York subway train was arrested on Saturday and charged with "second-degree murder as a hate crime" in the second such fatality this month for one of the world's busiest transit systems.

29/12/2012- The district attorney for the New York City borough of Queens said Erika Menendez, 31, who was seen pacing the subway platform and muttering to herself before the attack, had told investigators that she pushed the victim, Sunando Sen, 46, on Thursday because "I hate Hindus and Muslims." Menendez was taken into custody in Brooklyn by authorities acting on a tip from someone who recognized the suspect from video of the incident that was aired on television, a spokeswoman for the district attorney told Reuters. "The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter's worst nightmare - being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train," District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. "Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant's actions can never be tolerated in a civilized society," he said.

The prosecutor's statement quoted Menendez as telling investigators: "I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I've been beating them up." Her alleged admission was an apparent reference to the September 11, 2001, attack on Manhattan's World Trade Center by Muslim extremists who flew two hijacked jetliners into the twin towers. Brown's statement gave no indication of the victim's ethnicity or religion or Menendez might have taken Sen to be a Muslim. The spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, Meris Campbell, said she did not believe the victim was wearing any clothing that would have led someone to identify him as being a Muslim. Menendez is awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging her with second-degree murder as a hate crime, an offense that carries a minimum sentence of 20 years to life in prison. The minimum penalty for second-degree murder alone is 15 years to life, Campbell said. If convicted, Menendez could face a maximum penalty of 25 years to life.

Witnesses told police a woman appeared to be mumbling and pacing Thursday evening before she approached an unsuspecting man from behind on the platform of an elevated station in the borough of Queens. She then shoved him onto the subway track as the train pulled into the station, witnesses said. Brown said Sen died of multiple blunt-force trauma. After shoving Sen on Thursday, the suspect ran from the station to the street in a scene caught on surveillance video footage that police released on Friday as they searched for her. Sen's death was the second this month of a New York subway rider pushed onto the tracks of the city's more than 100-year-old subway system.

On December 3, Ki-Suck Han was killed after being shoved onto subway tracks in Manhattan as a train entered a station near Times Square. A suspect, Naeem Davis, has been charged with second-degree murder. Authorities have disclosed a possible motive. Including Thursday's incident, 139 people have been struck by New York City subway trains so far in 2012, and 54 of them died, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman said on Friday. He said the tally was preliminary and subject to change.
© Reuters

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