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Minsk Court Sentences Gay-Basher For Inflicting 'Unintentional' Injuries

MINSK -- A court in Minsk has sentenced a man to two years and eight months in prison for beating a homosexual man so badly that he has been in a coma.

But the court on January 13 rejected calls for Zmitser Lukashevich to be imprisoned for a homophobic hate crime.

Instead, Lukashevich was convicted of unintentionally inflicting health damage to Mikhail Pishcheuski, who has remained in a coma since Lukashevich severely beat him in May 2014.

The ruling came at a retrial in the case.

Lukashevich received the same sentence last year, but the prosecutor of Minsk's Central District demanded a retrial, saying the attack was a homophobic hate crime.

However, a different prosecutor at the retrial on January 12 did not ask for the attack to be classified as a hated crime.

Witnesses testified at the retrial testified that Lukashevich attacked Pishcheuski after loudly insulting him about his homosexuality.

Pishcheuski's relatives said after the sentencing that they will not appeal the court's decision.

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