Еженедельный Бюллетень ЕПК

2007


THE COURT OF APPEAL CUTS GAGIK SHAMSHIAN’S SUSPENDED SENTENCE TO ONE YEAR OF IMPRISONMENT

On July 16 the RA Court of Appeal heard the case of a free-lance photojournalist
Gagik Shamshian, who challenged the ruling of the court of primary jurisdiction
of Erebuni and Nubarashen communities of Yerevan. On June 6, 2007 the court
gave Shamshian a suspended sentence for 2.5 years of imprisonment. The court
sentence was made by Part 2 of Article 178 (“Cheating”) and by Part 1 of Article
179 (“Appropriation or Embezzlement”) of RA Criminal Code. The plaintiff demanded
to annul the ruling and to acquit him fully. On its behalf, the Prosecutor’s
Office of Erebuni and Nubarashen communities also challenged the sentence of
the court of primary jurisdiction, demanding to make the punishment more severe
and to sentence Gagik Shamshian to 4 years of imprisonment.

As it has been reported, the criminal proceedings on the case of Gagik Shamshian
were instituted on August 3, 2006 by the Erebuni Investigative Department of
the Chief Investigative Division of the RA Police, basing on a number of appeals
from citizens. On his behalf, the journalist did not plead guilty on any of
the five episodes, qualifying what has happened as a persecution for his professional
activities, waged by the Head of Nubarashen community of Yerevan Mher Hovhannisian
and his associates. The conflict with them started due to the article, published
in “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” newspaper on July 11, 2006 (the publication told,
in particular, about two relatives of Nubarashen community Head, charged with
robbery at one of Yerevan banks). The next day Shamshian was assaulted. The
Prosecutor’s Office of Erebuni and Nubarashen communities instituted criminal
proceedings by 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. However, on November 10, 2006 the
investigation of the case was stopped due to the lack of “sufficient evidence
proving corpus delicti in the actions of the suspects”. Thus, Gagik Shamshian
became a participant of two criminal cases at the same time: on the case, where
he was a victim, nobody was punished; on the other case, the journalist became
the convict (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, June
1-7, 2007
).

At the session of July 16 the Court of Appeal secured the claim of the journalist
partially, only reducing the suspended sentence to one year. As Gagik Shamshian
told YPC, he intends challenging this ruling at RA Court of Cassation.

N.B. Dear readers, please note that YPC Weekly Newsletter will next
be issued in early September, 2007.