Bishop Held Liable for Spreading Homophobic and False Statements in Moldova
Civil Rights Defenders welcomes the decision of Bălți Court of Appeal in Moldova who rejected the claim of Bishop Markel from the Moldovan Orthodox Church requesting an annulment of a previous judgment against him for hate speech. In June of 2014, the Court had ruled that Bishop Markel’s statements represented hate speech and incitement to discriminate against homosexuals and this decision was upheld at the Appeal Court in late February.
The Court also recognised that Bishop Markel’s hate speech had discredited and damaged gay people’s honour and dignity. In a rare public apology the Bishop admitted that his statement “that 92% of homosexuals carry or are sick with AIDS was false”. He further went on to state “I apologise to homosexuals for this false statement”.
“It is crucial for institutions that form and influence public opinion and attitudes, including religious organisations to not only implement human rights but also to be held accountable for any human rights violations. This case clearly illustrates a positive example of improvements in human rights protection through advocacy and the activities of civil society organisations in Moldova” says Alesia Vudruk, Programme Manager for Moldova at Civil Rights Defenders.
Bishop Markel must now pay 10,000 MDL (475 EUR) in damages and circa 20,000 MDL (950 EUR) in trial expenses (950 EUR).
Alexei Marcicov, Chairman of GENDERDOC-M a long term partner of Civil Rights Defenders in a press release written soon after the verdict stated; “We hope that the Court of Appeal judgment will serve as a precedent for those who profit from their position and presumed impunity, and that it becomes clear that rule of law is dominant in Moldova”Categories: News.
Tags: Homophobia, LGBT, and Moldova.