A Ukrainian woman was sentenced to six months in prison for a racially motivated assault against Russians gathered to celebrate the Russia National Flag Day on 22 August last year in Larnaca.
The 55-year-old woman was arrested for assaulting participants while possessing a kitchen knife.
The Larnaca District Court handed down the sentence, with judge Andreas Louca arguing that “the pain inflicted by a war cannot legitimise anyone to a crime motivated by national or ethnic origin”.
As the court heard, the Ukrainian woman, wielding a knife in a state of intoxication, attacked people who gathered to celebrate Russia’s National Flag Day.
Judge Louca said that the accused had argued that Russians had killed her brother, apparently in hostilities during the war in Ukraine.
The woman was acquitted of three charges of inciting violence and hatred at the prima facie stage of the trial.
She pleaded guilty to the remaining charges of common assault against two persons, carrying a knife outside the home, being drunk and disorderly, disturbing the peace and carrying a weapon to incite terror.
The decision referred to the consequences of the defendant’s behaviour; it was stated that two underaged children suffered psychological trauma, with one unable to sleep at night.
Defence lawyer George Mouskos referred to the personal circumstances of his client.
He said that she is a widow, living permanently in Cyprus since 2003, while two months before the disputed incident, her brother lost his life “during the war between Russia and Ukraine”.
The rest of her family is stranded in Ukraine, said Mouskos, in his plea to mitigate the sentence, adding that she is a peaceful and law-abiding citizen.
He attributed the incident to his client’s fragile emotional state at the time.
However, the court did not accept the defence arguments, noting that a racially motivated assault is unacceptable under any circumstances.
“The attack against a group of people with a knife, solely because of their origin, is a disturbing phenomenon in any modern society.
“Any suspension of a custodial sentence would go against the seriousness of bias-motivated offences and send the wrong message to society.
“The prison sentence should be carried out immediately,” said the court.
The defendant’s lawyer will appeal the decision.