Kentron Police Department instituted criminal proceedings against free-lance photo journalist Gagik Shamshian and the correspondent of “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” newspaper Gohar Vezirian. As it has been reported, the incidents with the journalists occurred during the hearing of the same case in the court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan. On August 5, 2008 upon the order of judge Gagik Avetisian Gagik Shamshian was dismissed from the courtroom, after which the journalist was first locked in the basement of the court and was later taken to the Kentron Police Department. The next day, August 6, a similar sanction was applied on Gohar Vezirian: upon the order of the same judge the journalist was ousted from the courtroom, was held in the room, intended for defendants, after which she was sent to the Kentron Police Department. Having spent over two hours at the police station, Gagik Shamshian and Gohar Vezirian were released on August 5 and 6, respectively (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 1-4, 2008).
The criminal proceedings against journalists were instituted by Part 1, Article 343 of the RA Criminal Code (“Disrespect to Court”), stipulating a penalty of 100-300 minimal salaries or imprisonment of one to two months. As YPC was told by attorney Hovik Arsenian, the journalists do not acknowledge their guilt, moreover, in their opinion, judge Gagik Avetisian exceeded his competence.