YPC Weekly Newsletter

2006


INJURED PARTY TRANSFORMED INTO DEFENDANT

On July 25 the RA General Prosecutor’s Office informed that the charges on
the case, instituted on the appeal of the free-lance correspondent of “Chorrord
Ishkhanutiun” and “Aravot” newspapers Gagik Shamshian, were introduced to Ruben
Hovhannisian, the brother of the Yerevan Nubarashen community head. The proceedings
were instituted by the Prosecutor’s Office of Erebuni and Nubarashen communities
of Yerevan on Article 164 (“Impeding the Legitimate Professional Activities
of a Journalist”), Part 1 of Article 176 (“Robbery”) and Part 3 of Article 258
(“Public Disorder”) of the RA Criminal Code. According to the press-release
of the General Prosecutor’s Office, arrest was selected as the preventive punishment
of Ruben Hovhannisian. However, as it became known, later Ruben Hovhannisian
was released on bail.

As it has been reported, on July 12 Gagik Shamshian, residing in Nubarashen,
was harassed by the relatives and subordinates of Nubarashen head Mher Hovhannisian
with regard to an article, published on July 11 in “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” (the
piece told, in particular, about two relatives of the Nubarashen head, charged
with robbery at a Yerevan bank). The journalist was threatened, insulted, his
personal belongings were taken away. The harassment continued for days to come:
on July 13 the power supply was cut off at the flat of the journalist and the
phone line was disconnected, on July 18 several dozens of Nubarashen resident
held a “protest action” against Gagik Shamshian by the building of the communal
administration, calling on him to move out and “not to cast shade on our community”
(see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter,
July 14-20, 2006
).

On August 3 the Erebuni Investigation Division of the Chief Investigation Department
of the RA Police instituted criminal proceedings against Gagik Shamshian himself:
as the journalist was explained by the Police, it was done basing on appeals
from a number of citizens. The journalist is charged with Part 1 of Article
136 (“Insult”), Parts 1 and 2 of Article 178 (“Cheating”) and Part 1 of Article
182 “Extortion” of the RA Criminal Code. According to Gagik Shamshian, he was
interrogated and did not plead guilty on none of the episodes.

On August 21 Gagik Shamshian filed appeals to the Erebuni Investigative Division
and the Prosecutor’s Office of Erebuni and Nubarashen communities (that is,
the bodies investigating both cases), informing that he refuses his attorney
and the testimony, given upon his advice. As Gagik Shamshian explained, the
attorney talked him into mitigating his initial testimony on the first case
and to admit his incapacity – on the second. In his appeals to law enforcement
bodies Gagik Shamshian requested to keep his initial testimony as valid.

Thus, the journalist became involved in two criminal cases at the same time,
in one of them he is the injured party, and in the other – he is the defendant.

As Gagik Shamshian said, presently there is no news in the case of attack on
him. In the case where he is a defendant a medical examination should be made
to determine whether or not he’s incapacitated. According to Gagik Shamshian,
the examination is to be made on September 28.