GENDERDOC-M representatives threatened at Court of Appeals in Bălţi
The GENDERDOC-M Information Centre is outraged by what happened during the court hearing on the case “GENDERDOC-M vs. City Council of Bălţi” on 22 January 2013. At the hearing, besides the plaintiffs, defendants and three accessory interveners (Ombudsman’s representative, Bishop of Bălţi and Făleşti Markel and Mr. Mircea Rotari), there were present eight other persons who had decided to attend the meeting which was open to the public. By the way they were conversing with Bishop Markel, it was obvious that they had been invited by the clergyman himself.
Having entered the court room, the GENDERDOC-M representative was instantly insulted by some of these attendees who said: “Dirty person! Don’t sit next to her – isolate her!” During the break announced by the judge to deliver a technical decision, some of those eight persons allowed themselves several derogatory statements and threats against the plaintiffs, their lawyer and all LGBT people in the Republic of Moldova:
- “I believe this case will be cancelled in future. We’ll raise everyone against this, anyway. I am the initiator. Come on, Madam Lawyer, look in my face. I am a freelance reporter at “Altarul Credinţei” (The Altar of Faith) and educator in the city of Bălţi. And if there is a need to raise all people against something, I will raise them all – believe me. I will raise them all because I work at school”.
- “You won’t have a place here”.
- “Let them come and we’ll meet them here”.
- “And in Chişinău, they [LGBT activists who intended to participate in a demonstration in May 2008 and were blocked inside the bus] stopped there and started a fight out of the bus. They [religious counter-demonstrators] should’ve taken out only the bus driver – he shouldn’t have remained inside. They should’ve poured some petrol on it, set the bus on fire, and that’s it – we would’ve got rid of them. Let’s chip in, buy a bus and...”
Following the request of plaintiffs’ lawyer based on Article 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, which requires court to ensure safety for participants of the trial, the judge established identity of all people present in the room and their personal data were included in the minutes of hearing. Upon the conclusion of hearing, these individuals attempted to stop the lawyer and ask her questions, thus trying to intimidate her. After they had been refused the discussion, one of the men spat in the direction of the human rights defenders.
The GENDERDOC-M Information Centre is concerned about safety of its representatives and partners in the city of Bălţi. The afore-described situation indicates serious consequences of the homophobic ordinances adopted by a number of city and district councils in spring 2012, when the respective jurisdictions were proclaimed as “zones free of homosexual propaganda”.
We are also very concerned about the situation of LGBT residents of Bălţi. We believe these people are exposed to an enormous risk of being subjected to violence, given that even the court building is unable to stop threats and hate speeches.
In April 2012, GENDERDOC-M Information Centre launched a lawsuit requesting that the City Council of Bălți is ordered by court to repeal its own Decision #02/16 from 23 February 2012 “On proclamation of the city of Bălți as the zone of support for Moldovan Orthodox Church and inadmissibility of aggressive propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientations in the city of Bălți”.