Teacher convicted of hate speech still at work in Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — A Ukrainian middle school teacher convicted of hate speech is still on the job.

Nikolai Yakimchuk, one of only two successful convictions on hate speech charges in Ukraine over the last decade, is still teaching children in the Kirovograd region, according to a July 23 report posted on Jewish.ru. The report quoted a letter from the Jewish Forum of Ukraine to the Ministry of Education demanding Yakimchuk’s dismissal.

Yakimchuk was convicted of inciting ethnic hatred in 2008 after testimony revealed that he told his students that Jews "need to be exterminated and have no place among people." His comments appeared to be directed at Jewish students at the school, who he said "take up other people’s spaces at our school that don’t belong to them."

A court sentenced him to two years in prison, but he was quickly amnestied and released.

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