Seven young persons have been assaulted in Bucharest for having attended an LGBT event. Two of them needed urgent medical care.
Update: actual number of people that were attacked is seven, 3 women and 4 men.
Bucharest, November 8th. ACCEPT Association, the most active LGBT human rights organization in Romania, expresses its deep concern regarding the latest homophobic attacks that have occurred on Tuesday night in Bucharest, right outside one of the most important academic institutions in the country. ACCEPT is requesting authorities to start an investigation and to punish the criminals behind the attacks.
On Tuesday evening, November 6th, seven young women and men have been physically assaulted by a group of ten people wearing hoods, in downtown Bucharest, after attending an academic debate about the history of homosexuality in Romania. Two of them were injured and were transported to the Emergency Unit of a hospital nearby. One of them was admitted in the plastics surgery ward, the other one was able to leave the hospital that night. During the assault, the attackers claimed they were opposing the “organization of gay events”.
According to the Romanian Penal Code, crimes based on the opinion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or political views of a person are particularly grave, with hate crime being an aggravating factor. Hate crimes send out a threatening and intimidation message not only to the victim, but also to all the citizens that share the same social group with the victim, or to people that are perceived as being a part of that group.
“We are firmly requesting the authorities in charge with the public safety of the citizens to review the necessary procedures, in order to adequately apply the hate crime law in Romania. People have the need to feel safe and to express themselves in safety, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, opinion or faith. It lies within the responsibility of the authorities to make sure these rights are protected and to punish the criminals that break the law”, said Irina Nita, Executive Director of the ACCEPT Association.
Previous experiences in Romania raise questions about how the hate crime legislation is enforced by the responsible institutions in Romania. In a similar situation, after the 2006 Gay Pride in Bucharest, several participants were beaten up in the subway and the authorities failed to sanction the criminals. The prosecution dropped the case after five years because it was unable to identify the offenders, in spite of the fact that there were surveillance cameras in the subway. Eye witnesses and pictures of the offenders were available, as well.
ACCEPT Association will closely monitor the way in which authorities investigate the situation, so that the offenders are brought to justice.
For more information regarding this statement, please contact Irina Nita, Executive Director of ACCEPT at +40 723 253 441 or firstname.lastname@example.org