On March 20 the court of primary jurisdiction of Center and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan declined the appeal of the attorneys of the Chief Editor of “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily Nikol Pashinian. The attorneys had filed an appeal with the court against the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office of Center and Nork-Marash communities, stipulating an institution of criminal proceedings, a preventive punishment and an accusation against the Chief Editor (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 9-15, 2002). The court decided the actions of the Prosecutor’s Office were compliant with the RA legislation.
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).
"The Case of Imbeciles” remains in the attention focus of media and NGOs. Thus, statements to support the Chief Editor of “Haikakan Zhamanak” were made by the Center of Democracy and Civil Society Development “Armat” and the Chairman of the Public Council on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Protection Ashot Bleyan.
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 – still continues (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 2-8, 2002). During the past week another 31 people signed the letter, demanding to be summoned to the process as defendants as they also want to know “how imbeciles find their way to the system of administration”.
The day before the court session on the appeal of the attorneys of Nikol Pashinian “Aravot” also called on everyone having signed the letter to be present in court. Yet, the session of March 20 was held with the doors closed. Judge Gayaneh Karakhanian explained this decision by the fact that in the course of the hearings “documents, which are investigative secret,” may have to be disclosed.