On September 5 the court proceedings on the suit brought by Marineh Gabrielian against the regional “Ararat” newspaper to protect honor and dignity continued (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 9-15 and 23-29, 2001). The case was renewed on August 31. As it had already been reported, the plaintiff had previously challenged the judge of primary jurisdiction Tatul Poghosian and addressed the upper bodies with a request to review the case in any other region of Armenia. In the opinion of Gabrielian, this would give greater objectivity to the proceedings.
Accordingly, the RA Council of Court Chairmen transferred the case to the court of primary jurisdiction of Armavir region, where, in the Echmiadzin office, the proceedings were renewed at the chairmanship of judge Vardan Grigorian and the hearings continue.
During the session of August 31 the court was at last able to determine the issues that the plaintiff wants to be refuted by the newspaper. The main points are the fact of keeping an Azerbaijani prisoner of war at the house of Gabrielian in 1993 who was subsequently sold to his own family (allegedly for $25 000) as well as the consistent humiliation and harassment of Gabrielian’s mother-in-law by herself. This information, given in the letter of 115 residents of Khachpar Village and published by “Ararat” newspaper is denied by the plaintiff. The defendant, the Chief Editor of “Ararat” Karineh Ashughian, referring to the signatures and the evidence given by the villagers, refuses to publish the refutation.
The two last sessions of September 3 and 5 were devoted to the determination of how valid the information published was. To do this, the people who had signed the letter addressed to the newspaper were called to the courtroom as witnesses. All of them, without exception, confirmed the information in the letter to be valid.
During the coming session, scheduled for September 12, the court will hear out the evidence given by other witnesses, too. Meanwhile, the Chief Editor of “Ararat” Karineh Ashughian requested to stop the proceedings and transfer the case to the prosecutor’s office to investigate, in particular, into the fact of keeping and selling an Azerbaijani prisoner of war so that to make it easier for the court to determine who is right and who is wrong in the conflict in question. The defendant assumed an obligation to file this request and submit it to the court during the next session. Time will show what the decision of the chairman will be.