YPC Weekly Newsletter



On July 1 the heads of “Haikakan Zhamanak”, “Haik”, “Aravot”, “Hraparak”, “Iravunk
de Facto”, “168 Zham”, “Taregir”, “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun”
newspapers, Yerevan Press Club and the editorial staff of “Zhamanak-Yerevan”
daily addressed a letter to the RA Ministry of Justice Gevorg Danielian, requesting
to assist the early release of the Chief Editor of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” Arman
Babajanian. As it has been reported, Arman Babajanian was sentenced to 3.5 years
of imprisonment for document fraud to evade mandatory military service. In July
and December 2007 the head of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” twice addressed the Commission
on Early Release and Release on Parole and was refused both times. As the time
for another plight for an early release of Arman Babajanian draws near, a number
of Armenian media and NGOs state their support of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” Editor,
and actions to protect him are held (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, June
20-26, 2008
and June 13-19,

In their letter to the Minister of Justice the signatories expressed hope that
“the direct control” from his side would allow “Hospital for Convicts” criminal
executive institution (where Arman Babajanian has been kept for quite a long
time already), taking into account Babajanian’s positive references, to re-submit
the plight for early release/mitigation of punishment to the Commission above.
The authors of the letter stressed their conviction that the early release of
the Chief Editor of “Zhamanak-Yerevan”, imprisoned since June 2006, will help
to reduce the political tension in the country.

Meanwhile, according to the communication published by “Zhamanak-Yerevan” on
July 2, 2008, at the administrative meeting of “Hospital for Convicts” on July
1 the issue of Arman Babajanian’s early release has not been discussed. In the
opinion of the editorial staff, the date of the meeting (they are normally held
every month) was not chosen incidentally: the previous request of Arman Babajanian
for the administration to file a plight with the Commission was considered at
the session of April 3, the journalist was then refused, the next application
could only be considered in three months’ time. In other words, the newspaper
sums up, if the administration held its meeting on July 3 or later, it would
have to re-discuss the issue of the plight for the early release of “Zhamanak-Yerevan”
Chief Editor.