YPC Weekly Newsletter

2006


“ZHAMANAK-YEREVAN” EDITOR SENTENCED FOR FOUR YEARS

On September 8 the court of primary jurisdiction of Center and Nork-Marash community of Yerevan finished the trial on the case of the Chief Editor of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” daily Arman Babajanian, charged with document fraud to avoid military service. As it has been reported, Arman Babajanian, arrested on June 27, 2006, was charged on Clause 2, Part 2, Article 327 of the RA Criminal Code ("Avoidance of military service, summons and exercise”) and on Part 2, Article 324 “Theft or spoilage of documents, stamps, seals”. At the session of September 4 the Prosecutor demanded that Arman Babajanian be found guilty on both articles and be sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 1-7, 2006).

At the session of September 8 the verdict was brought in. The court ruled that the guilt of Arman Babajanian was unproved and he was found not guilty on part 2 of Article 324. The charge on Clause 2 of Part 2 of Article 327 was found by the court to be proved. The sentence was defined to be 4 years of imprisonment (notably, Part 2 of Article 327 stipulates the punishment of arrest for 1 to 3 months or imprisonment for 1 to 5 years).

On September 14 the RA Human Rights Defender Armen Harutiunian, giving a press-conference on the results of his work for that past half a year, noted that formally, from a legal point of view, the punishment defined for Arman Babajanian is probably grounded. However, the Ombudsman thinks the sentence to be too strict. According to the information, published on “A1+” web-site, Armen Harutiunian said: “There are opinions that the strict approach to the case is explained by the fact that he (Arman Babajanian – Ed. Note) is the editor of an opposition newspaper. (…) I do not think this misdemeanor should have been punished by four years’ imprisonment.”