KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — Prosecutors charged a Ukrainian mayor with inciting ethnic hatred after complaints were filed by Jewish groups.
Sergey Ratushnyak, the mayor of Uzhgorod, was charged Aug. 13 with hooliganism, abuse of office and violating racial and national equality of citizens after allegedly using anti-Semetic rhetoric and beating a campaigner for a leading presidential candidate who as an ethnically Jewish background.
On Aug. 6, Ratushnyak is alleged to have beaten a campaigner for Arseniy Yatsenyuk of the Front of Changes initiative. According to Vyacheslav Likhachyov, the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union’s monitor in Kiev, Ratushnyak made several anti-Semitic statements in a television interview the next day with Ukrainskaya Pravda.
According MIGnews.com.ua, Vadim Rabinovich, president of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress, in his letter addressed to law enforcement agencies asked the prosecutor’s office to control the movement of Ratushnyak in order “to prevent the mayor’s escape from the country.”
Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko told the media in Vinnitsa last Friday that law enforcement has not received any medical reports to support the accusation that the campaigner was beaten, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported.
“This means we have no legal grounds to start a case,” Interfax reported, citing Lutsenko.
Lutsenko also said that Ratushnyak’s anti-Semitic statements would be inadmissible in court.