On July 1 Chief Editor of “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily Nikol Pashinian voluntarily
surrendered to RA General Prosecutor’s Office. As it has been reported, during
the presidential elections of 2008 Nikol Pashinian was a member of the election
headquarters of presidential candidate, RA First President Levon Ter-Petrosian.
In the beginning of March 2008 Nikol Pashinian was announced wanted within the
criminal proceedings, instituted on the events of March 1, 2008 in Yerevan.
On April 17, 2008 several heads of Armenian media and NGOs addressed an open
letter to the RA General Prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepian. By noting that the criminal
proceedings against the Chief Editor of “Haykakan Zhamanak” “have an obvious
political slant” and are “an undisclosed pressure on free expression”, the signatories
demanded to stop the unjustified persecution of Nikol Pashinian and allow him
to return to his family, professional and political activities (see YPC Weekly
Newsletter, March 7-13, 2008
and April 18-24, 2008).
However, while in hiding, Nikol Pashinian published articles on the pages of
“Haykakan Zhamanak” and had his own blog. In the opinion of Nikol Pashinian,
the decision “to come out of hiding” and to give himself up to the law enforcement
bodies, “will give a new burst” to his political struggle. Today many people
are interested whether the amnesty of June 2009, releasing a number of oppositionists
convicted on the case of March 1, 2008, will expand on Nikol Pashinian. It depends
on the verdict of the court: will it exceed the 5 years term of imprisonment?
After his surrender to the General Prosecutor’s Office Nikol Pashinian was
sent to the Yerevan Kentron Police Department, and from there – to the “Yerevan-Kentron”
penitentiary institution. According to the information published in “Haykakan
Zhamanak” on July 2, Nikol Pashinian was charged with Articles 225 (“Mass riots”),
316 (“Violence against a representative of power“) and 225 prime (“Organizing
and holding of a pubic event with breach of order stipulated by law”) of RA
Criminal Code. Nikol Pashinian received a preventive punishment of arrest.