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.
“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.