Three articles about Oksana Makar, by courtesy of 'Femen'

"Oksana : Pomnim ... Lioubim ... Oskorbim." ("Oksana, we remember you, we love you, we grieve for you.")

Ukrainian girl Oksana Makar dies after horrific gang rape – Regina Leader

Posted on   March 29, 2012   by   FEMEN

DONETSK - An 18-year-old Ukrainian girl died Thursday almost three weeks after suffering a gang rape attack by youths which shocked the nation and raised new doubts about the competence of its police.

Oksana Makar was raped by three young men in their early 20s, strangled, burned alive and then left for dead in the attack in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv , investigators have said.

The victim was found by a passerby after she was dumped by her attackers at an abandoned construction site. She was hospitalized with 55 per cent burns in a critical condition, requiring the amputation of one of her arms.

Oksana Makar died of her injuries in a specialist hospital in the eastern city of Donetsk where she had been taken after her rescue, the clinic announced.

Her heart stopped beating after she suffered a pulmonary hemorrhage and she died despite three attempts to resuscitate her, the chief doctor of the Donetsk Burns centre, Emil Fistal, told AFP.

He said the fact she was able to survive for three weeks since the attack, which occurred on March 9 or 10, according to the source, had only been possible due to intense treatment and therapy.

"Imagine. She was strangled and they (the attackers) thought she had died. So they burned her. She was lying there 10 hours in the freezing cold and inhaled the by-products of the burning," Fistal said.

President Viktor Yanukovych sent condolences to her relatives while Prime Minister Mykola Azarov vowed that the attackers would be punished "without compromise."

"Millions of Ukrainians believed that Oksana would survive and prayed for her, offering blood, buying medicine," Azarov said. "Everyone wants that such a thing never happens again."

The case has caused a public outcry in Ukraine, exposing incompetence by the law-enforcement authorities and the extent of social problems in industrial cities like Mykolayiv which are riddled with drugs and AIDS.

Ukrainian media had alleged that the suspected attackers - two of whom were initially allowed to go free - are the sons of parents with strong connections to leading local officials.

The mother of one suspect used to be the head of a district in the Mykolayiv region, the regional interior ministry confirmed, prompting allegations the authorities had been trying to keep a lid on the whole affair.

Meanwhile, her mother controversially posted footage of Oksana in hospital on YouTube in a harrowing video where she shows the bloodied stump of her arm and, apparently barely able to speak, says she feels "awful."

The three suspects were all arrested soon after the body was discovered but two were then released, prompting demonstrations by Ukrainians in cities across the country as well as the prominent feminist group Femen.

Femen staged a topless protest at the Ukrainian general prosecutors office in Kyiv, brandishing slogans like "Death to Sadists!" and "Oksana, Live!" from the entrance porch of the building.

All three men were again placed under arrest on March 13. Two suspects were then charged with gang rape and one with rape and attempted murder.

Ukrainian interior ministry spokesman Volodymyr Polishchuk told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency that all three had now been charged with premeditated rape and murder.

According to the interior ministry, several officials from the police and local prosecutors were fired and reprimanded for initially letting the suspects go free.

If convicted, the three face between 15 years and life in jail, although the brutality of the crime has renewed public debate about the use of the death penalty which was abolished in Ukraine over a decade ago.


Justice for Oksana Makar, who died after horrific gang rape

March 31, 2012  

Raped by three men, strangled with a cord, burnt alive and left for dead three weeks ago, Oksana Makar, a young Ukrainian died of her injuries Thursday, 29 March. She was 18. Her horrific gang rape caused nationwide protests in Ukraine over corruption and elitism of the wealthy.

Indeed, according to the Associated Press, two of the suspects with powerful connections were initially released by police. In a video that was leaked to Ukrainian media, one of the suspects is allegedly shown calmly relating to investigators  how the three successively raped Oksana and then killed her when she started threatening to call police.

“She was wailing, waving her hands and I raped her. She did not calm down and I decided to strangle her,” said the suspect in the video, adding that he first used his bare hands and then a cord when this did not work.

After changing their clothes, he said the three went to a kebab kiosk nearby. “We sat, we smoked, and then we parted,” said the suspect, whose face was blocked out in the video.

Mission : Moral survival  
Nationwide protests followed and police re-arrested the men following an intervention from President Viktor Yanukovich.

Feminist group Femen staged a topless protest at the Ukrainian general prosecutor's office in Kiev . They brandished slogans like “Death to Sadists” and Oksana, Live!” in front of the building's entrance.

Here is what Hlib HOLOVCHENKO, director of the Mykolaiv College of Press and Television, general producer of the television company TAK-TV, candidate in education, said:

“The media have contributed a lot. News about murders and violence prevails on the national TV-channels. Good news cannot struggle through the negative ones. That is why the media should not forget about their responsibility in front of the society.”

“Today children from province have more chances for moral survival than children from big cities. […] “Oksana Makar lives in the small town of Luch that has been artificially created to fulfill the needs of the large USSR . However, this town has quite a good library with good books and the Internet. However, the girl is not among its readers. In small towns families are the most responsible for their children and family values are very important.”

Oksana Makar's mother: “My daughter died with a smile on her face”
Oksana Makar's mother told the media:   “My daughter died with a smile on her face. When I ran to the emergency room to say goodbye to her, she smiled. I was told about her death 2,5 hours later, at 10 am . They apparently tried to save her, but haven't succeeded. I'm not angry at the physicians. Actually, I am grateful they did everything they could.”

Oksana battled for her life for more than two weeks. She had been trying to describe the ordeal, but broke down, saying she didn't want to talk about it. Asked how her perpetrators should be punished, she had said   their testicles should be cut off and fed to dogs.

For the time being, if sentenced, the three face between 15 years to life in jail. Even though, the cruelty of the crime has reintroduced public debate about the use of the death penalty which was abolished in Ukraine over a decade ago.


Oksana Makar's Horrific Death Gives Ukraine Reason To Reflect

Posted on   March 30, 2012   by   FEMEN

"She's just a loose girl,” responded my Kiev colleague when I asked her about how Ukrainian media were covering the tragic story of Oksana Makar, an 18-year-old girl from the southern city of Mykolayiv who had been gang-raped, strangled, dumped in a pit, and set ablaze.

On the day of our conversation, Oksana was fighting for her life. Her kidneys were severely damaged, one of her arms had been amputated, her lungs were in danger, and 55 percent of her body was burned.

I frankly didn't know how to respond to such a value judgment from an intelligent and, by all previous indications, seemingly compassionate woman.

Sadly, her response mirrored that of many other people in the Ukrainian world of web forums, tabloid talk shows, and newspapers.

Oksana's horrible story laid open the hardness and heartlessness that is part and parcel of today's Ukrainian society.

People wrote that she was a slut, that she would pick up men in bars, that she had been detained for soliciting, that she got what was coming to her, that her mother was a chronic alcoholic who was using funds donated for her daughter's medical care for her own use.

They also wrote that her alleged attackers were animals and should be killed, that this crime was indicative of a sick debauched society whose corrupt government cares little for its people and their troubles.

And then the spin began.

A video appeared mysteriously; it was apparently leaked by the authorities. In the video, one of the suspects, handcuffed, recalls the events of the evening to a police interrogator.

Dispassionately, calmly, he describes the rape, the strangling, and the dumping of the body.

The authorities promptly began investigating the leak, only to later admit that they had released the video intentionally.

Another disturbing video appeared shortly thereafter of Oksana herself, speaking from her hospital bed. The video was shot by her mother, Tetyana Surovitska. 

In excruciating pain , Oksana says that her attackers should be castrated and imprisoned. 

Oksana's mother was accused of exploiting her daughter's tragic situation.

Several sites ran stories about letters from "criminal authorities" being sent to the Mykolayiv prison, where the suspects were held, with instructions to inmates about how to deal with them accordingly.

The news even made it to Russia, where  a talk show on the country's first state channel focused on how the perpetrators should be punished. As one panelist proposed, their genitalia should be cut off, dried, put on a string, and given to Oksana so she knows that they can never do to anyone else what they did to her.

Ukraine's female protesters from the Femen group, whose trademark is to protest topless, stormed the state procurator's office holding signs reading “Death to Sadists” and “The Country Demands Revenge.” They were quickly bundled off by the police, but not before the cameras had their fill.

Everybody cynically got in on the game while Oksana clung to life.

The young woman's tragedy, however, also brought out the best in a people who are used to being downtrodden, psychologically abused, and exploited by their government on a daily basis.

Let's start with the willingness to help.

Thousands of people sent money to assist with Oksana's medical care. They gave blood and reached out to her mother. Sympathy and support poured in. People were shocked by the event and appalled by the authorities' reaction.

When two of the three suspects in the case were released because they allegedly had connections to influential people in the area, there was a public outcry. People protested and demanded justice; the authorities had no choice but to rearrest the suspects.

Several prosecutors lost their jobs and the prosecutor-general took control of the case.

People prayed, held vigils, and searched for reasons and explanations.

And then Oksana died. After clinging to life for more than two weeks, her heart gave out.

After her death, all three suspects were charged with premeditated murder, in addition to rape.

Oksana's mother announced that she would use the collected funds to buy Oksana a suitable gravestone and that she would donate the rest for the medical care of another victim of sexual assault who is in a coma in a local hospital.

She would bury her daughter in a wedding dress, she said, as her attackers “deprived her of the possibility of marriage.”

So ends the story of a “loose girl.” A girl who never had a chance.

-- Irena Chalupa

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