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Analyst Mesežnikov victim of hate crime

AN INTOXICATED young man assaulted Grigorij Mesežnikov, president of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) independent think tank, in downtown Bratislava on February 26.

AN INTOXICATED young man assaulted Grigorij Mesežnikov, president of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) independent think tank, in downtown Bratislava on February 26.

Marek U., 26, hit Mesežnikov and shouted at him that he hated Jews. He also attacked a young man who came to Mesežnikov's defense, the Sme daily wrote.

The analyst and some passers-by called the police. The attacker did not try to escape. He was charged with disturbing the peace and defamation of a nation, race or personal belief. He was not taken into custody.

"This is a miserable and worrying situation," said Mesežnikov. "He repeated that he hates Jews."

Except for insults in internet chat room and forums, Mesežnikov has not experienced any similar attack. He appreciated the response of the passers-by.

The government and IVO condemned the attack.

"The government unequivocally rejects any expression of anti-Semitism," said PM Robert Fico's spokesperson Silvia Glendová.

IVO issued a statement in which it spurned all forms of violence. The institute simultaneously called on all public figures to avoid heated rhetoric in their statements, which negatively influence the atmosphere in society both directly and indirectly, and in which their roughness or vulgarity may feed hatred to commit similar acts of violence aimed at individuals or groups.

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