YPC Weekly Newsletter

2006


INCIDENT WITH THE CORRESPONDENT OF “CHORRORD ISHKHANUTIUN”

On July 12 the freelance correspondent of “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” and “Aravot”
newspapers Gagik Shamshian was harassed by the relatives and subordinates of
the head of Nubarashen community of Yerevan Mher Hovhannisian.

As YPC was told at “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” editorial office, in the morning
the taxi that Gagik Shamshian, residing in Nubarashen, was traveling in was
blocked by a Mercedes car. The father of the Nubarashen community head Andranik
Hovhannisian went out of the Mercedes, started threatening the journalist and
demanding his explanations with regard to article “Robbery and Infinity”, published
on July 11 in “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun”. The article presented the details of
the robbery made at one of the Yerevan banks over the week-end (the disappearance
of a big amount of money and valuable items was discovered in the morning of
July 3). The article noted in particular, that the crime accomplices included
two relatives of the head of Nubarashen community. (It should be noted here
that the piece is signed by a completely different name, and, as the Chief Editor
of “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” Shogher Matevosian maintains, Gagik Shamshian is
not its author; the piece only bore the photograph made by him.)

Information on the morning incident was broadcast on the same day in the evening
air of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian Service. In his interview to
the radio company Gagik Shamshian noted that what happened to him was related
also to his previous pieces about the community head and his family.

In the evening of the same day, at about 21.30, as he was leaving home, Gagik
Shamshian was surrounded by numerous cars. About 40 people went out of the cars,
started a squabble with the journalist, expressing their indignation at the
article, abused the journalist and threatened to punish him. Afterwards, getting
back into their cars they followed him for about two kilometers, not allowing
making a stop. They also took Gagik Shamshian’s recorder, mobile phone and wallet.
The journalist recognized relatives and subordinates of the head of Nubarashen
community among the assaulters.

At 23.30 Gagik Shamshian appealed to Erebuni Department of the RA Police, where
the colleagues of the journalist also arrived. According to the Correspondent
of “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” newspaper Mher Ghalechian, Gagik Shamshian’s
T-shirt was torn, and his arms were bruised. In the police the recorder and
the mobile phone were returned to him, yet the journalist did not understand
who had done it, noting at the same time that the telephone card had been replaced.

According to the communication, placed on July 13 at the web-site of the RA
General Prosecutor’s Office, basing on Gagik Shamshian’s appeal, the Prosecutor’s
Office of Erebuni and Nubarashen communities of Yerevan instituted criminal
proceedings on Article 164 (“Impeding the Legitimate Professional Activities
of Journalist”), part 1 of Article 176 (“Robbery”) and part 3 of Article 258
(“Public Disorder”) of the RA Criminal Code.

Gagik Shamshian informed YPC that on July 13 the power supply at his flat was
interrupted and his telephone line was cut off. (As noted above, Gagik Shamshian
resides in Nubarashen community.)