On April 11 the Prosecutor’s Office of Center and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan stopped the criminal proceedings instituted on February 13, 2002, against the Chief Editor of “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily Nikol Pashinian.
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 decision on the discontinuation of the proceedings is substantiated by Item 4 of Article 18 (unconfirmed suspicions are interpreted to the benefit of the defendant) and Item 2 of Article 35 (the participation of the defendant in the crime is unproved and the possibilities to obtain other evidence exhausted) of the RA Criminal Procedures Code.
In this manner the legal action that had been instituted contrary to all common sense was stopped. It took the law and order bodies two months to understand that the suspicions of the MCAD Head of being personally insulted were groundless. Yet, the law still allows the institution of criminal charges against journalists and media for their professional activities. Consequently, the actions of intimidating the fourth estate have all the chances to be continued. The elections are coming.