Ukraine protests handling of violent gang-rape case

A young woman who was allegedly gang-raped, strangled, set on fire and left for dead in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv seems to be improving. But Ukrainian women’s rights group Femen says their protests will not stop until her attackers are brought to justice, ABC News reports.


A police officer detains topless activists from the group Femen during their protest action in support of Oksana Makar. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

The alleged gang-rape of Oksana Makar, 18, which occurred earlier in March, has shocked Ukraine. Members of parliament joined protesters in calling for the death penalty or castration as punishment for the attackers, according to ABC.

There has been public outcry in Ukraine over the violent nature of the crime, as well as the way it was handled by prosecutors.

While the suspects were arrested on the day of Makar’s attack, two of them were released soon after, as prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to hold them, the Kyiv Post reports.

Ukraine’s chief police officer later said the two released men were the sons of former government officials, according to the Kyiv Post.

After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych ordered the general prosecutor to take charge of the case, all three suspects were charged with attempted murder.

But a video posted to YouTube and aired by Ukrainian news agencies, showing one of the the suspects calmly describing the attack, has only prolonged the public’s outrage:

Many have also questioned why no one from the prosecutor’s office initially questioned Makar about the crime, despite the fact that she was still conscious at the time, the Kyiv Post reports.

In an interview with Gazeta.ua, a Ukranian news site, Makar recounted the evening:

“I remember when I was choked. And when I regained consciousness, I remember myself lying during the night. I thought I would not survive. I could not feel my body. At first, I was screaming for help. But there was nobody there, I began to pray. I thought I had died. I remember it all as if in a fog.”


Oksana Makar in the hospital. (YouTube)

Fifty-five percent of her skin is gone, her kidneys completely burned, and one of her arms and both her feet have been amputated, the Kyiv Post reports.

While her condition has stabilized, her outlook is still uncertain, doctors said.

In a video of Makar in the hospital, the young woman tells the camera she would like her attackers to be “shot” and “eaten by dogs.”

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