Proceedings opened against the deputy urging to oust UOC from Zolochiv

Myroslava Babinska. Photo: a screenshot / YouTube / ZOLOCHIV.NET

Criminal proceedings were opened at the request of the family of priest Maksim Yoenko (UOC), who is being persecuted after Babinska's calls in Zolochiv.

On September 3, 2020, the police of Zolochiv, Lviv region, began a pre-trial investigation into the actions committed by the deputy of the Lviv Regional Council Myroslava Babinska aimed at inciting religious hatred towards representatives of the UOC, as it become known to the UOJ from its own sources.

The criminal proceedings were opened under Part 1 of Art. 161 h. of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Violation of the equality of citizens depending on their race, nationality or attitude to religion”) on the statement of Olga Shakhoval, the wife of Priest Maksim Yoenko, who is accused of illegally building a UOC church on the territory of his private house in Zolochiv.

In her statement, the cleric's wife indicated that in July 2020, the deputy of the Lviv Regional Council Myroslava Babinska took actions aimed at inciting religious enmity and hatred towards the believers of the UOC publicly in front of the Zolochiv community and in the local media. As a result of Babinska's actions against the priest's family, there have been threats to life and health, which continue to this day. Besides, rallies have been held near the priest's house, demanding that their family leave Zolochev. She also said that on 6 July the activists destroyed the fence around their house.

Earlier the deputy Myroslava Babinska demanded expelling the UOC from Zolochiv and "giving the owner of the house 24 hours from the moment of the announcement of the decision of the City Council in order to dismantle and remove the trailer where the services are performed."

As reported, the persecution of UOC believers and priest Maksim Yoenko in Zolochiv began in July 2020. Representatives of the UGCC and local authorities accused Father Maxim of illegally building a church on his private territory. The gate of the cleric of the Lviv Eparchy of the UOC was marred with insults and Nazi symbols, an anti-UOC veche was held near his house, and the priest himself and his family were offered to leave the town.

On August 6, the members of the Lviv National Corps destroyed the fence around the priest's house with hammers, and a week later, unknown assailants attacked a children's store in Zolochiv, owned by a parishioner of the UOC. After the demolished fence was somehow restored, the mayor's Office of Zolochiv demanded that it be demolished through the court, which refused to meet the claim of the City Council and closed the case.

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