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news 12 Jun 12

Serbia Bans Far-Right Organisation 'Obraz'

The Serbian Constitutional Court has banned the far-right organisation ‘Obraz’, notorious for inciting violence against gays, ahead of the Belgrade Gay Pride parade.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

Two years after the Serbian prosecutor's office had requested the ban of the extreme-right group ‘Obraz’, the country's Constitutional Court outlawed it on Tuesday.

The prosecutor's office has also requested that 'Obraz' be deleted from the registry of organisations, as well as for any future association or group that should want to continue the activities of 'Obraz' to be considered illegal.

In its 2005 report, the Serbian Ministry of Interior dubbed Obraz as a clerofascist organisation.

The group defines its basic principles as patriotism and faith in the Serbian Orthodox Church. They see themselves as defenders of the purity of the Serbian language and the Cyrillic alphabet, and family values.

The group became notorious in 2001 for their attack on the first ever Belgrade Gay Pride parade which left several marchers and police officers injured.

In April 2011, a Belgrade court jailed Obraz's leader Mladen Obradovic for two years for organising riots during the October 2010 Belgrade Gay Pride parade in which about 140 people were injured.

The 2011 Pride parade was cancelled after the government decided to ban all gatherings scheduled for that day for security reasons.

Serbia's Public Prosecutor in September 2009 filed a motion for all extremist organisations, including Obraz, to be banned.

The Prosecutor's Office has also requested the ban of the far-right 'Serbian National Movement 1389' group on the grounds that it aims at the violent overthrow of the constitutional order and incites national, religious and racial hatred.

Previously, the court had banned only one far-right group, the neo-Nazi 'Nacionalni Stroj' movement, which was banned in June 2011.

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