YPC Weekly Newsletter

2007


THE COURT OF APPEALS REDUCED THE IMPRISONMENT SENTENCE OF “ZHAMANAK-YEREVAN” EDITOR BY SIX MONTHS

On January 12 the RA Court of Appeals completed the hearing on the case of
the Chief Editor of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” daily Arman Babajanian, who was sentenced
on September 8, 2006 by the court of primary jurisdiction of Center and Nork-Marash
communities of Yerevan to four years’ imprisonment. The Chief Editor was convicted
for document fraud to evade military service. The hearings on the case started
with the court of secondary jurisdiction on October 24. Besides, on October
16 Arman Babajanian addressed the military commissariat of Shengavit community
of Yerevan asking for a military service exemption, basing on the RA Law “On
Citizens Who Have Not Taken Mandatory Military Service with Procedural Violations”,
i.e., after a certain amount is paid (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, November
10-16, 2006
).

At the session of January 12 the Court of Appeals somewhat mitigated the sentence
of Arman Babajanian, reducing it to 3.5 years’ imprisonment. The ruling was
made in the absence of the defendant’s attorneys. Besides, the court declined
the motion of Arman Babajanian to give him time to prepare the last word. Refusal
was also made on the previous motion of the journalist’s attorneys to reschedule
the session, as the response of the special interdepartmental commission, headed
by the RA Minister of Defense and considering the appeals of citizens who have
not taken mandatory military service with procedural violations, had not been
received yet.

As the attorney of Arman Babajanian Zaruhi Postanjian told YPC, the attorneys
of the “Zhamanak-Yerevan” head intend to challenge the sentence with the RA
Court of Cassation. At the same time, according to Zaruhi Postanjian, a suit
is being prepared against the actions of the interdepartmental commission mentioned
above. The lawyers noted that during the December 27, 2006 session of the commission
it was resolved to address the RA General Prosecutor’s Office for a clarification
whether the respective law can be applied in the case of Arman Babajanian. However,
the attorneys were not notified of either the response of the General Prosecutor’s
Office to the inquiry, or of the final resolution of the commission itself.
Actually, Zaruhi Postanjian added, during the years of its existence the commission
had made positive verdicts on over 2,000 appeals, and a possible denial to Arman
Babajanian may be qualified as discrimination.