YPC Weekly Newsletter

2008


INCIDENTS WITH JOURNALISTS IN POST-ELECTION PERIOD

On the evening of February 27 a group of men in civilian cloths interfered
with the work of the correspondent of the Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty Erik Ghazarian in Yerevan. The Armenian Service of Radio Liberty informed
YPC, that the journalist was accompanying RA National Assembly deputies from
the “Heritage” party Zarouhi Postanjian and Stepan Safaryan, along with representatives
of the non-governmental organizations, who came to the Police Department of
Kentron community of Yerevan, to find out reasons, for detention of two young
men during the protest action of Armenian presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian’s
supporters on the same day. In the course of conversation with the police officials
the deputies also tried to find out why are the above mentioned men stationed
in the police building for already a lengthy period of time. The latter didn’t
like this, and they used force to push the deputies and the people accompanying
them out of the building, taking away the microphone from Erik Ghazarian and
throwing it out of window. After this they set in the cars and drove away.

In the morning of February 28, the correspondent of “Hayk” newspaper Artak
Yeghiazarian and his father – head of one of “Republic” party’s territorial
branches Lyova Yeghiazarian, were taken to the Police Department Nor Nork community
of Yerevan from their apartment. According to Artak Yeghiazarian, they were
charged for violation of Article 180.1 of RA Code on Administrative Infringements
of Law (“Violation of procedure for conducting meetings, demonstrations, marches
and rallies”). The journalist was released approximately after two hours – only
after writing an explanatory note that he was present at rallies of various
political forces carrying out his professional duties. An administrative case
is filed against the journalist’s father.

In the morning of February 29, on Yerevan’s Theatre square, where the protest
action of Armenian presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian supporters was
taking place, the police officers attacked freelance photojournalist Gagik Shamshian.
According to the latter, having noticed that he has started photographing them,
several police officers attacked him and started beating, while swearing at
the same time. The beating of the journalist stopped only after people in the
square interfered. The attackers tore journalist’s coat and damaged his camera.
On the next day, morning of March 1, Gagik Shamshian was detained on the Theatre
square, during the Levon Ter-Petrossian’s supporters dispersal operation carried
out by the law-enforcement bodies. According to the journalist, his photo-camera
was taken away, he was beaten and taken to the Yerevan Police in handcuffs.
From here he was re-directed to the Police Department of Kentron community,
and later – to the Police Department of Kanaker-Zeitun community of Yerevan.
Gagik Shamshian said that he was able to inform his lawyer, several journalists
and the RA Human Rights Defender about his location. While in the Police Department,
Gagik Shamshian needed medical treatment, so he was taken to the hospital and
returned back. The journalist was released only at midnight, after the intervention
of RA Human Rights Defender’s staff.

YPC was informed by Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, that
in the evening of March 1, during the rally at the French Embassy, the law-enforcement
officials interfered with the work of the Radio Liberty correspondent Ruzanna
Stepanian and beat the driver of their service car, although the latter introduced
himself as an employee of a media.

On March 2, during a rally in Gyumri, the representatives of the law-enforcement
bodies hindered the work of “GALA” TV film crew. According to “Asparez” Journalist’s
Club of Gyumri, all three members of the film crew, including the correspondent
of “GALA” Armine Vardanian were taken to Gyumri Police Department and released
only after 3 hours. On the same rally the representatives of law-enforcement
bodies took away the photocamera of “Aravot” daily correspondent in Gyumri Nune
Arevshatian, which was handed back to her only after interference of citizens
close by. The police officers threatened and insulted the correspondent of the
Armenian Service of Radio Liberty in Gyumri Satenik Vantsyan, until the moment,
when they came to realize, that she is conducting a live reportage from the
scene of events. At the same time the Board Chairman of “Asparez” Journalist’s
Club Levon Barseghian was detained. The head of “Asparez” spent more then five
hours in police. As Levon Barseghian told YPC, he has been informed, that the
Gyumri Police Department has applied to court, charging him under Article 182
of RA Code on Administrative Infringements of Law (“Ill-intentioned disobedience
to the legal demand of a police or military officer”). Levon Barseghyan in his
turn intends to file a counter claim at court.