29 May 15
Montenegro Jails Three for Abusing Gay Activist
A court has jailed three men for three months for verbally abusing a prominent gay activist, as Montenegro gets tougher on anti-gay hate crimes.
A court in Podgorica on Thursday jailed three men for verbally attacking and harassing the director of the LGBT Forum Progres, Stevan Milivojevic, in April.
Judge Zeljka Jovovic said the three men carried out an “unprovoked” verbal attack on Milivojevic solely because of his sexual orientation.
They abused Milivojevic on April 10 in Podgorica, calling him derogatory names and threatening him with physical violence.
At the time, Milivojevic was in the company with a German MEP, Teresa Terri Reinke, who was visiting Montenegro as a member of the EU-Montenegro Parliamentary Committee on Stabilisation and Association.
Reinke said such homophobic behavior must be punished in accordance with the laws in Montenegro.
“After a very successful visit of the EP delegation in Montenegro I spent my free time with friends in Podgorica. We went out for a late dinner and suddenly we were verbally attacked and threatened by a group of young men with something that had a very clear homophobic background, since I was in the company of Milivojevic,” Reinke said after the incident.
She urged the court to set an example and send a message that this behaviour will not be tolerated.
Milivojevic, one of the few openly gay activists in Montenegro, has been exposed to numerous acts of violence and discrimination.
In the last three years, Milivojevic and his organization say they have been victims of at least 20 attacks, of which most were not prosecuted.
The latest EU progress report on Montenegro said that although the authorities were taking steps to protect the rights of LGBT people, hostility against them remains widespread.
Attacks on LGBT people have continued and criminal convictions for these assaults remain few, the report said.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)