On February 24 in front of the RA Procuracy an incident with the free lance journalist Gagik Shamshian occurred. According to Shamshian, he was shooting on the street before the beginning of the session of the RA Procuracy Collegium, when a young man came up to him, abusing and demanding to stop shooting and to get away. Afterwards he started to beat the journalist, then entered the building of the Procuracy. Gagik Shamshian also told YPC that despite the injuries, he waited till the end of the Collegium session and attended the press conference of Aghvan Hovsepian, RA General Prosecutor. As to the journalist, he announced about the crime at the press conference, and Aghvan Hovsepian asked him to address to the RA Procuracy with a notice on the attack. Gagik Shamshian also noted that right after the assault he called the RA Police on the hotline. Shamshian ensures that he had time to take a picture of the assaulter, while the incident should have been recorded by the camera fixed at the entrance of RA Procuracy.
Later, while Gagik Shamshian was receiving medical assistance, it turned out that his eardrum was injured.
On the same day, on February 24, Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Yerevan Press Club, Internews Media Support NGO, Media Diversity Institute, “Asparez” Journalist’s Club of Gyumri, Vanadzor Press Club, and Goris Press Club released a statement, which emphasized that Gagik Shamshian “was taking photos of the high-ranking officials of law enforcement bodies, who were arriving to the Collegium, i.e., was on professional duties. Meanwhile from the way the assaulter freely entered the Procuracy, he may be directly related to the law enforcement bodies”. “The public can expect that another case of violence against a journalist will be followed up. And if the attacker is not revealed and punished this time, we will have all the reasons to believe that the law enforcement bodies are simply refraining from disclosure of such crimes”, the statement of seven journalistic associations stated, in particular.
On February 25 “Aravot” daily published the photo of the young man, which, as to Shamshian, has assaulted him. In the report on the incident near the Procuracy “Aravot” also noted that, according to the newspaper’s information, “the assaulter is an investigator of the General Investigative Department of the Police”.
Kentron Procuracy of Yerevan instituted criminal proceeding on Articles 164 (“Impeding the legitimate professional activities of journalist”) and 118 (“Beating”) of the RA Criminal Code. The investigation is conducted by Kentron Police Department.