Murder of Oksana Makar
|Date||March 8, 2012|
|Outcome||Rape and murder of Oksana Makar|
|Non-fatal injuries||Strangulation, burns, smoke inhalation|
|Burial||March 30, 2012|
|Charges||Rape and murder|
The murder of Oksana Makar took place in March 2012 in Ukraine, garnering extensive media coverage both at home and abroad and leading to mass protests. Oksana Makar, aged 18, was attacked by three men in the city of Mykolaiv on 8 March 2012: she was raped, strangled, set alight and left to die, though she survived another three weeks after being taken to hospital. Her case became a cause célèbre in Ukraine when only one of the attackers was charged by the police. The other two, whose parents were reported to be former government officials, were released on police bail, allegedly because of personal connections of their parents They were later rearrested after a public outcry and mass protests on 13 March. Protests demanding justice, to gather funds and encourage blood donations continued after the arrest as well.
People involved in the case
Oksana Serhiyivna Makar (Ukrainian: Оксана Сергіївна Макар, 11 June 1993 – 29 March 2012) spent a significant part of her childhood in an orphanage after both her father and her stepfather were imprisoned for dealing drugs and her mother was convicted of robbery and sentenced to three years. She completed only six years of schooling, ran away from the orphanage, and lived by herself at various locations being abandoned by her parents and engaged in petty theft and prostitution from the age of 11.
Yevgeny Krasnoshchok (the main suspect) left home at 17, and worked in various low ranking jobs. He lived in a hostel with his wife and two-year-old daughter. Krasnoshchok has remained in police custody since his arrest on 11 March.
Maxim Prisyazhnyuk worked as a lawyer in the Department of Culture for the Mykolaiv City Council. His adopted mother was a head of the Yelanetsk District council prior to her retirement in 2009 (Yelanetsk is located 60 miles from Mykolaiv). Prisyazhnyuk was arrested on 11 March 2012, released on police bail and rearrested following public protests by Femen. Prisyazhnyuk had been a member of the youth wing of the Party of Regions, but had been expelled from their ranks in 2010. Prisyazhnyuk then continued his political career as a member of the United Centre but, according to that party, he had never been a member and had only worked with them on a voluntary basis during the 2010 local elections.
It was initially reported that Artem Pogasyan's father worked in the past as a senior official in the district prosecutor’s office in Mykolaiv. According to the police his father worked as a manual laborer and died in January 2012 and his mother is a librarian. Pogasyan was arrested on 11 March 2012, released on police bail, and rearrested following public protests.
Makar, aged 18, was attacked, allegedly by three men, in Mykolaiv in the south of Ukraine on the night of 8–9 March 2012. There are conflicting accounts on the details of how the suspects and victim knew each other and what occurred on the evening of the murder, but it is not disputed that Makar met at least two of her attackers in the Rybka, a pub in Mykolaiv, and they all went to an apartment belonging to one of the alleged attackers. It has been alleged that Prisyazhnyuk knew Makar before they met on 8 March and planned the crime although this has been denied by Makar's mother. Three men raped Makar at the apartment and attempted to strangle her with a cord. After that, they took Makar who was barely conscious, moved her to a nearby construction site, wrapped her in a blanket and set her on fire that was burning during the whole night. She was discovered the next morning, still conscious, by a passing motorist and taken to a hospital. She had suffered burns to 55 percent of her body and received lung damage due to smoke inhalation.
Medical response and death
Makar was transferred to the Donetsk Burn Center, a modern medical institution with an international reputation where a Swiss surgeon operated on her. Her right arm and both of her feet had to be amputated to stop gangrene from spreading.
Investigation and trial
||This section needs to be updated. (November 2012)|
Three men – Yevgeny Krasnoshchok, 23, Maxim Prisyazhnyuk, 24, and Artem Pogasyan, 22 – were arrested on 11 March, but Prisyazhnyuk and Pogasyan were released on police bail. Shortly thereafter it was claimed in the media that the parents of Prisyazhnyuk and Pogasyan were ex-government officials from the Mykolaiv area and were connected to local politicians. It was reported that Prisyazhnyuk is the adopted son of a former head of district council and Pogasyan is the son of the regional prosecutor. (In their statement the police have confirmed the claim in respect of Prisyazhnyuk but stated that Pogasyan's mother is a librarian and his father was a manual laborer before his death in January 2012.) After protests on the streets of Mykolaiv and other cities against the police bail of Prisyazhnyuk and Pogasyan, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych intervened and an investigating team from Kiev, Ukraine's capital, then visited Mykolaiv. The two suspects released on police bail were re-arrested, and at least four local law-enforcement officials were sacked.
On May 24, 2012, an open court trial on the case began at Mykolaiv's Tsentralnyi Raion court. During the trial Prysiazhniuk claimed that the sex with Makar was on mutual consent. He and Pogosian claimed that it was Krasnoshchiok who smothered the girl and then raped her again; Prysiazhniuk and Pogosian believed she was already dead when they carried her to the basement. On 30 October 2012 the prosecutor called for a life sentence for Krasnoshchiok, 15 years of imprisonment for Prysiazhniuk and 14 years of imprisonment for Pogosyan.
The actions of the police were deeply criticised by the media and led to public protests in Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Lviv and Odessa. The death of Makar was linked with so-called "bigwig crimes": crimes committed by either the children of public officials or by officials themselves. According to victim’s mother, Tatiana Surovitskaya, her connections within one of the central TV channels in Ukraine helped to ensure widespread initial media coverage. Surovitskaya posted a footage of Makar in hospital after medics had been forced to amputate one of her arms and both her feet on YouTube (these amputations can clearly be seen on the video) two weeks after the attack.
The Governor of the Mykolaiv province, Nikolai Kruglov blamed among the others the family of the injured girl: "The question of control of the child - it's family issues. This is a minor child, in our 18 years in school learning - I am at this point I say". Raisa Bohatyryova (Deputy Prime Minister and concurrently the Minister of Health) held talks with Nikolai Kruglov and asked him to provide all the necessary medical care for Oksana.
The Ukrainian Presidential adviser, Marina Stavniychuk, voiced her support to the residents of Mykolaiv and opposed the initial release of suspects. She announced that the Presidential Administration was surprised by the behavior of law enforcement officers, who released the suspects of the rape and attempted murder. The presidential adviser further expressed her personal disbelief over the release of the suspects.
Member of parliament Serhiy Sobolev said that "the spokesman of the Mykolaiv regional police department is frankly lying" when she (Lt. Col. Olga Perederenko) stated that "the girl was in such condition that it could not provide any evidence", Sobolev was shocked that Olga Perederenko still holds her position.
During the plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) on March 14, Gennady Zadyrko, in reaction to the incident involving Oksana Makar, said that Ukraine should "bring back the death penalty". The deputy Oleg Lyashko urged his colleagues to donate one day's salary to Makar's medical treatment. He also opined that they should "castrate pedophiles".
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Andriy Klyuyev expressed confidence that the perpetrators will be punished with the full extent of the law. He noted that "the government must adequately respond to any crime - no one has to avoid punishment, regardless of affiliation or social status".
An Honored Artist of Ukraine Angelica Rudnitskaya has stated she doesn't not believe in the execution of President Viktor Yanukovych order to ensure a full and impartial investigation of rape Oksana Makar. She said: "If the law enforcement system is not able to protect its citizens and punish those responsible, the people themselves must all available legal means to force her to do it".
After Makar had died on 29 March 2012 President Yanukovych and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov were among the first to offer condolences. Azarov wrote on his blog “No compromises. Only with the knowledge that punishment is inevitable will these monsters fear to encroach on people’s lives and rights.”
Rallies and funds collection
On the morning of March 13, dozens of Mykolaiv residents went to the first rally next to the Central police station. The rally moved to the Prosecutor's Office of the Mykolaiv province. Another protest was held at Lenin Square.
On March 15, another rally was held in the central area of Mykolaiv, near Lenin Square, in support of Oksana Makar with a few thousand participants. Due to the resonance of the Oksana Makar assault, another, similar criminal case was revealed, involving another teenager, Aleksandra Popova, who was hospitalized on the same day and was unconscious for weeks. The rally became supportive of both Oksana Makar and Aleksandra Popova. The demonstrators who gathered in Lenin Square were able to collect 7,511 hryvnia for the treatment of Oksana Makar and 6,652 hryvnia were collected for Alexandra Popova. The general public donated over 1 million hryvnia for the treatment of Makar, according to her mother.
- Rape of Iryna Krashkova
- Corruption in Ukraine#Juridical corruption
- Judicial system of Ukraine
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- (Ukrainian) Мама Оксани Макар розповіла, куди витратить зібраний на лікування мільйон (Mom Oksana Makar told where to spend a million gathered on treatment), Ukrayinska Pravda (16 March 2012)
- Кровь для Оксаны Макар сдали почти 60 донетчан. Сайт «Комментарии: Донецк», 23.3.2012.
- Акция будет длиться с 23 по 30 марта 2012 года. «За это время более 150 сотрудников разных подразделений областной и городской милиции Донецка сдадут донорскую кровь», — говорится в сообщении пресс-службы ведомства. Сайт «Муниципальная газета» (Донецк), 26.3.2012
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