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Serbian extremist gets jail term for anti-gay threats

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A court in Belgrade on Friday sentenced a Serbian extremist to eight months in prison for threatening gays ahead of a 2009 pride parade, cancelled over fears of violence, officials said.

Mladen Obradovic, leader of the ultranationalist movement Obraz (Honour), was retried after a 10-month verdict handed down last year was overturned on appeal due to "breaches of criminal procedure," judge Ivana Ramic told AFP.

The 32-year-old had written anti-gay slogans including "death to gays" and "blood will flow along the streets of Belgrade, there will be no Gay Pride" on placards and public spaces ahead of the 2009 march.

The court ruled that the slogans were "discriminatory threats that incited fear in the community," Ramic said.

Police barred organisers from going ahead with the parade in Belgrade in 2009, fearing it could turn violent.

Obradovic was earlier sentenced to two years in prison for taking part in violence during and after the 2011 march, in which more than 150 people were injured, most of them police. The damage to the Serbian capital was estimated at more than a million euros ($1.3 million).

Obraz is known for its anti-gay stance, as well as fierce opposition to Serbia's bid to join the European Union.

In June 2012, the constitutional court banned the movement for "violating human and minority rights" and "inciting hatred towards other ethnic and religious groups."

Serbia remains a highly patriarchal society, with the Orthodox Christian Church playing an influential role in society.

Same-sex marriage is illegal, while the law does not recognise gay relationships.

Gay activists say they plan to organise another parade later this month, despite the cancellation of past such events due to threats of violence by ultranationalists and conservatives.

mat/an/cc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130906/serbian-extremist-gets-jail-term-anti-gay-threats