Serbia: Far-right leader jailed for homophobic death-threats

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A far-right Serbian leader, whose death-threats against homosexuals led to the cancellation of gay pride march in Belgrade three years ago, has been convicted and sentenced to 10 months in prison. 

Belgrade’s district court ruled that the leader of the extremist group, Obraz (‘Honour’), Mladen Obradovic, incited discrimination against gay men and women with graffiti that read: “Death to gays” and “Blood will flow, there will be no gay parade.”

However, according to Lazar Pavlovic, leader of a Serbian gay-rights group, said that the sentence did not go far enough, and that the prison sentence should be extended to three years. “We expect that the prosecution will lodge an appeal and we will continue to follow this case,” he said.

The Associated Press reports that Obradovic has already been sentenced in a separate case to two years in prison for inciting violence during a gay pride march in 2010, which left dozens of people injured. But, having appealed his conviction, he remains a free man.

Serbia seeks to join the European Union, and as a condition of membership, has pledged to protect gay rights. The threat of the far-right, however, looms large on the Balkan state. As Serbia’s constitutional court deliberates on whether to ban Obraz, Obradavic said, on leaving the courtroom today, that his group will continue to operate illegally, even if proscribed.