Suspended jail terms for women in racist attack

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Two sisters captured on video verbally abusing a Russian woman in a Larnaca parking lot in October 2019 have received suspended two-month prison terms and €3,000 fines by the Supreme Court.

Last year, a Larnaca District Court found the two Cypriot sisters, now aged 32 and 39, guilty of a racist attack but only fined them €750 each.

However, the state prosecutor appealed the decision, and the Supreme Court issued tougher sentences.

The women were recorded by the Russian resident in Cyprus, using racial insults, offensive language, pushing and spitting when she cautioned them for trying to abandon the scene after she saw them bump a car.

The Supreme Court said bearing in mind the consequences the two women faced from society when the video went viral and the fact it was not an organised racial violence attack; there was room for suspending the jail time.

It is on the condition the two women do not commit any other offence that could result in a jail sentence in the next three years.

The incident had taken place in front of one of the two women’s underage child.

The two women from Nicosia were brought to justice after a 10-minute YouTube video depicted a Russian woman at the centre of vile racist abuse, which also involved spitting, cursing and physical violence.

A video was recorded and posted on social media by the victim of the attack, Svetlana Zaitseva, showing the Cypriot women abusing her.

In the video, the women call the Russian derogatory names, reproducing racial and sexual stereotypes about Eastern Europeans.

A vehicle driven by one of the Cypriot women was about to leave the Larnaca car park after allegedly hitting another vehicle on her way out.

The victim had told them to stop even though it wasn’t her car.

The women got out of the car to remonstrate with the do-gooder, telling her to mind her own business, “clean some windows”, and “go back to Romania’”.

The video of the incident went viral, raising a storm of condemnation and sympathy for the Russian woman – originally from St. Petersburg but living in Limassol for the past 20 years. She is the mother of three children.