YPC Weekly Newsletter

2004


INVESTIGATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS CASES CONTINUES

On July 21 in accordance with a resolution made at the session of the Media Legislation Working Group, established by OSCE initiative, the Head of OSCE Office in Yerevan Vladimir Pryakhin addressed an inquiry to the RA General Prosecutor’s Office on the progress made in investigating the facts of violence against journalists, committed on April 5 and on the early morning of April 13. On August 6 the answer to the inquiry, signed by the Deputy General Prosecutor Gevorg Danielian, was received.

The answer of the General Prosecutor’s Office mentioned that the preliminary investigation of the case on the attack of media representatives on April 5 was completed on June 2, and on June 10 the trial was held, ending in sentence of the two defendants – in accordance with Part 1 of Article 185 of the RA Criminal Code (“Intentional destruction or damage of property”) – were sentenced to a fine of 100,000 drams each (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 4-10, 2004).

The General Prosecutor’s Office also informed that the investigation of events that occurred during an opposition rally in early morning of April 13 continues (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 9-15, 2004). “In particular, regarding the violent acts against 4 journalists, the following has been discovered during the course of the investigation.

On April 16, 2004, in a letter to the RA General Prosecutor, M. Ghalechian (correspondent of “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” newspaper – Editor’s note) reported that at about 3 o’clock in the morning of April 13 he was beaten by 4-5 representatives of special troops and a civilian.

The correspondent of “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily H. Gevorgian was brought to the police station of Nork-Marash community to determine the circumstances of his beating. After that he was delivered to “Surb Grigor Lusavorich” medical center. After the forensic investigation it was stated that his injuries are not very serious and can be qualified as minor physical damage.

The correspondent of “Haikakan Zhamanak” A. Babajanian was also brought to the police station of Nor Nork, however he refused to undergo a forensic examination.

L. Grigorian, the representative of the First Channel of Russian Federation (ORT), came to the police station of Arabkir community on April 13, 2004, to report that he, too, had been beaten during the rally mentioned above. By the findings of the forensic examination, he suffered minor physical damage”, the reply of the General Prosecutor’s Office to the inquiry of Vladimir Pryakhin said.

By the evaluation of Yerevan Press Club, the reply of the General Prosecutor’s Office is nothing more but a formal letter. Otherwise how can a broken nose and a loss of consciousness (recorded by the forensic examination) of cameraman Levon Grigorian, suffered as a result of the action of the law enforcement bodies aimed at stopping the rally on the early morning of April 13 be qualified as a “minor physical damage”. A number of other comments by the General Prosecutor’s Office are also inadequate to the situation. The recent development showed that this attitude towards violence against journalists is bound to become a habitual practice.