On March 11 the attorneys of the Chief Editor of “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily Nikol Pashinian filed an appeal against the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office of Center and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan with the court of primary jurisdiction of the same communities. The decision of the Prosecutor’s Office stipulated an institution of criminal proceedings, a preventive punishment and an accusation against the Chief Editor of “Haikakan Zhamanak”.
As it has already been reported, the criminal proceedings against Nikol Pashinian were instituted through the appeal of the Head of RA Main Civil Aviation Department (RA MCAD) Hovhannes Eritsian who found one of the publications of “Haikakan Zhamanak” (November 6, 2001) to be personally insulting for himself. The publication told that as a response to the order of Hovhannes Eritsian to his deputy calling “to study and report to the MCAD Head how, despite the regime zones, airplanes happen to carry aboard such periodicals that present authorities in a distorted manner”, the Chief Editor of “Haikakan Zhamanak” commissioned the journalists “to find out and report how imbeciles find their way to the state administration system” (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 23 – March 1, 2002).
On March 11 “Shirak Regional Party Consensus” (an organization uniting 14 branches of opposition parties, active in Gyumri and Shirak region) condemned the actions of the Prosecutor’s Office taken against Nikol Pashinian. Earlier, the National Press Club made a statement of support to the Editor of “Haikakan Zhamanak”, calling on the Prosecutor’s Office “to discard the unjustified accusation” and “not to follow the voluntarism” of the MCAD Head.
The action of “Aravot” newspaper – the daily publication of the open address of journalist Tigran Hakobian to the Assistant Prosecutor in charge of the investigation – continues (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 2-8, 2002). During the past week another 32 people signed the letter, thus expressing their unanimity with the wish of the author of the address to know “how imbeciles find their way to the system of administration”.
In unison with the publication of “Haikakan Zhamanak” the same “Aravot” daily (March 12, 2002) published the photograph of Hovhannes Eritsian with a text identical to the one that insulted the MCAD Head. Yet, this time the journalistic investigation with the conventional title of “where do imbeciles come from?” was initiated by the Chief Editor of “Aravot”.
The Armenian editions gave the floor to the attorney of the “victim” as well. In the interview of Robert Aghajanian, the lawyer representing Hovhannes Eritsian, to “Taregir” online daily (March 13, 2002), quoted by several media, he explained the wish of MCAD Head to restrict the presence of the opposition media aboard the planes by his aspiration to maintain the calmness of the passengers “who go up the ladder scared as it is”, concluding that “Hovhannes Eritsian is a treasure for the Armenian aviation”. In the opinion of the lawyer, the MCAD Head who is so zealous in protecting the peace of mind of the passengers is beyond any suspicion in imbecility.