MP about beating a priest: Tough reaction and demonstrative arrests needed

MP Anna Skorokhod. Photo:

It is necessary to toughen administrative and criminal liability for mass riots and beatings of people on the national or religious ground, the deputy said.

Law enforcement agencies must respond firmly and not leave such cases unattended. Thus, the people's deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, a member of the "For Future" deputy group Anna Skorokhod commented on the case of beating a priest of the UOC in Kyiv by drunken activists who introduced themselves as ATO soldiers.

“The reaction of the state to such incidents should be arrests,” the MP said in a comment to the “Capital”. “If injuries were inflicted, this is an article of the Criminal Code. A criminal case is opened, investigated, brought to court and sentenced. But you can't just leave it like that."

According to her, now the movement of the so-called "activists" are gaining more and more popularity – "they do nothing, but for money they take part in various actions and riots". At the same time, not all those activists who appear to be ATO soldiers are such.

“We already have a mess in the country, and if this continues, it will be scary just to go outside, not to mention of giving absolution,” added Skorokhod. “Therefore, here law enforcement agencies must respond firmly. I believe that in general there should be a state position on these issues – criminal and administrative responsibility. And everyone should understand that what he does will be punished. Then we won't have this. And it is necessary to do this several times demonstrably so that such cases should not be left unattended."

The deputy also pointed out the inadmissibility of interference in the religious life of Ukrainians for the sake of achieving someone's political interests, since "religion should remain a religion, and politics should remain politics."

“I believe that all the politics that has been and is being conducted today with the involvement of religion is a crime,” she said. “Because you cannot turn people against each other, because there is history. We have always had the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate, and the OCU received the Tomos several years ago, and never and under no circumstances should one confuse religion with politics. And no one - neither an ATO soldier, not an activist, nor a street cleaner, not a doctor – has the right to beat anyone."

The MP stressed that everyone has the right to free religion and “to go to the church he/she wants is his/her own business”.

“Whoever believes that he wants to go to the church of the Moscow Patriarchate – let him go to the church of the Moscow Patriarchate, who wants to go to the church of the Ukrainian Patriarchate, to the Greek Catholic Church – let him go. You cannot quarrel on the religious ground, this is unacceptable. In the same way, as one cannot put people against each other on the language ground. And those people who do this should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Anna Skorokhod resumed.

We recall that on the evening of September 4, 2020, several armed ATO officers in Kyiv beat up a priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who was disabled after a stroke. They explained their behaviour by the clergy's belonging to the Church of the “aggressor state”. The victim received serious injuries, but, with the words "God be their judge!", did not write a statement to the police.

As reported, the Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Committee condemned the beating of the UOC cleric by activists.

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