YPC Weekly Newsletter

2009


INCIDENT WITH ARMENIA TODAY COORDINATOR QUALIFIED AS INTENTIONAL NON-GRAVE HEALTH INJURIES

On May 8 Argishti Kivirian, Coordinator of ARMENIA Today news agency, Director
of “Bagin” legal company, left hospital to continue treatment at home. As it
has been reported, on April 30 at about 5.00, strangers with bats attacked Argishti
Kivirian on his way home from the office which is located in the next entrance.
Argishti Kivirian was taken to “Erebuni” medical center in grave health condition
and with multiple injuries, also on his head. The statement of 11 journalistic
and non-governmental organizations, released on the same day, stressed that
“the solution of problems with the help of blows and violence becomes a serious
peril for the society” (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 24-30,
2009
).

The incident with Argishti Kivirian was also condemned by the RA Human Rights
Defender Armen Harutiunian, a number of political parties, RA National Assembly
deputies as well as the Committee to Protect Journalists.

On April 30 OSCE Representative of Freedom of Media Miklosh Haraszti noted
in a letter to RA Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian and RA General Prosecutor
Aghvan Hovsepian that “the lack of results into cases of violence against journalists
creates an atmosphere of impunity for the perpetrators and can provoke other
cases of violence against media workers”. Miklosh Haraszti referred to so far
unresolved cases of assaults against the correspondent of “Haykakan Zhamanak”
daily Lusine Barseghian on August 11, 2008, the Acting Director of the Yerevan
Bureau of the Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Hrach Melkumian
on August 18, 2008, and the Chairman of “Investigative Journalists” NGO Edik
Baghdasarian on November 17, 2008. In the light of the incident with Argishti
Kivirian the OSCE Representative of Freedom of Media once again called the country
authorities “to swiftly and thoroughly investigate all cases of violence against
journalists, and also to publicly express their commitment to ensure the safety
of Armenian journalists”.

Commenting on the incident with Argishti Kivirian, the RA President’s Press-Secretary
Samvel Farmanian informed that Serzh Sargsian has already given relevant instructions
to the law enforcement bodies. Samvel Farmanian also expressed his regret about
another case of violation against journalists aiming to impede their professional
activities. It should be noted that similar instructions to find and punish
the offenders were given to the law enforcement bodies after the assault against
the Chairman of “Investigative Journalists” Edik Baghdasarian on November 17,
2008. Nevertheless, to this very day the investigation on that case remains
without any results.

Upon the attack on Argishti Kivirian the police has instituted criminal proceedings
on Article 117 of RA Criminal Code, “Intentional non-grave health injuries”,
which was strictly criticized by lawyers, human rights organizations. Particularly,
in their opinion, numerous blows stroke with bats which caused a week of hospitalization,
and other circumstances of the incident cannot be just qualified as “non-grave
health injuries”.

At the moment, the case investigation is transmitted to the Investigative Department
of RA National Security Service.