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Humanitarian worker attacked in apparent racist attack outside Kyiv

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Mar. 16, 2005 21:43
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Incident follows attack on African-American diplomat earlier this month
severely beaten by a group of skinheads in the Ukrainian capital, in what appeared to be the second racially motivated attack in Kyiv this month, a humanitarian official said.

Sadek Ali Sheriff was severely beaten last week by a group of young men in a residential neighborhood outside the city center, said Oleksandr Golkin, a project manager for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, where Sheriff worked.

HIAS is an non-governmental organization that works with asylum seekers in Ukraine under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Sheriff, who came to Ukraine as a refugee in 2001, suffered a broken nose and severe facial injuries and was hospitalized after the attack, Golkin said.

"He underwent a series of operations, but his condition has improved since, he will be released from the hospital soon," he said.

HIAS has lodged a complaint to the local police station demanding an investigation into the attack, Golkin said.

Ukrainian police officials and Sheriff were not immediately available for comment.

Earlier this month a group of skinheads in Kyiv attacked and injured Robert Simmons, an African-American diplomat serving at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Uzbekistan. Ukrainian authorities have said they were investigating the case.

Golkin said the beating of Sheriff appears to be the fourth racially motivated attack since the beginning of this year, because all the victims had African, Asiatic or other non-European features. "All the cases were reported to the police," he said.

Racially motivated attacks are not common in Ukraine, but a November warning posted on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv warned Americans of "reports of racially motivated incidents against non-Caucasian foreigners, including American citizens of African and Asian descent."
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