YPC Weekly Newsletter



On May 23 at the RA National Assembly an incident occurred between a deputy
of Republican Party of Armenia Alexander Sargsian (brother of the RA Defense
Minister Serzh Sargsian) and the parliament correspondent of “Iravunk” newspaper
Taguhi Tovmasian. The discontent of the deputy was caused by Taguhi Tovmasian’s
article titled “Skirmish on the Plane?” published in “Iravunk-Hetaknnutiun”
(“Iravunk-Investigation”) weekly supplement of May 18-24, 2006. It said in particular
that on May 2, before the departure of the aircraft Yerevan-Sochi and crashed
during the landing in the morning of May 3, at one of Yerevan restaurants during
a birthday party of a major criminal a clash happened, with the involvement
of Alexander Sargsian among others. Some of the guests later went on the airplane
crashed, and the article made a hypothesis of a possible conflict aboard. The
deputy demanded that the author of the article identify the information source.

After the incident in the parliamentary backstage, “Iravunk-Hetaknnutiun” (May
25-31, 2006) published a piece “For the Information of Sashik Sargsian and Law
Enforcement Bodies”, signed by the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the newspaper
Haik Babukhanian. “(…) Sashik Sargsian committed a criminal offence on the
territory of the NA: abused, threatened and obstructed the professional activities
of our correspondent Taguhi Tovmasian”, the piece stressed. Further Haik Babukhanian
noted that he himself provided Taguhi Tovmasian with the information which “raised
the keen interest” of the deputy. The Chairman of the Editorial Board addressed
the RA General Prosecutor’s Office, the Police and the National Security Service
proposing to consider the piece to be “a report on the crime, institute criminal
proceedings on the commitment of criminal offence by Sashik Sargsian and to
take speedy measures to ensure the safety of our correspondent Taguhi Tovmasian”.

“Zhamanak-Yerevan” daily (June 1, 2006) published an interview with Alexander
Sargsian, in which he announced he said nothing insulting to the journalist.
“How can I insult a lady? I only told her: in what you have written the whole
information is wrong”, the deputy said. At the same time Alexander Sagsian noted
that he will not be addressing the court not to raise the newspaper rating.

According to “Aravot” daily (June 1, 2006), at the press-conference, held on
May 31, to mark the 100 days of holding the position the RA Human Rights Defender
Armen Harutiunian said it was “a serious neglect” on his behalf not to make
a statement with regard to the incident in the parliament. Also, as “Aravot”
quotes, the ombudsman noted: “What would the statement of the Human Rights Defender
give, if they (“Iravunk” editorial board – Ed. Note)
have already addressed the appropriate bodies?”