YPC Weekly Newsletter



On February 27 “Hetq”, the newspaper of “Investigative Journalists” NGO, received the decision of RA Special Investigative Service regarding the incident between Grisha Balasanian, “Hetq” correspondent, and Ruben Hayrapetian, RA National Assembly MP, Chairman of the Football Federation of Armenia. As it has been reported, on February 2 Grisha Balasanian had called Ruben Hayrapetian on his mobile phone for getting some comments. In reply the MP asked whether the journalist had a recorder, and after an affirmative answer, he started to swear at Grisha Balasanian. By assessing this conduct as impeding the legitimate professional activities of the journalist, on February 3 “Hetq” addressed a communication on a crime to the RA General Prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepian, by enclosing the telephone records to it (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 4-10, 2011). The case was submitted to the Special Investigative Service.

The Special Investigative Service decision, received on February 27, noted that the criminal proceedings versus Ruben Hayrapetian on Article 164 of RA Criminal Code (“Impeding the legitimate professional activities of a journalist”) will not be instituted for absence of corpus delicti. The decision, signed by investigator V.K.Mkrtchian, particularly, stated the explanations of Ruben Hayrapetian, who did not want to talk with the journalist, pleading “bad mood and health problems”. The second call of the journalist “outraged” the MP, and “he used indecent expressions”. Further, Ruben Hayrapetian said that he had not aimed to and he had not impeded the professional activities of the journalist. During all press conferences, interviews, the MP personally or via his press secretary has answered to every question, providing information the journalists were interested in, stressed the MP. Similar explanations were given by Tigran Israelian, Press Secretary of Chairman of the Football Federation of Armenia.

Apparently, the above-mentioned commentaries were quite enough for the Special Investigative Service for rendering a decision on not instituting criminal proceedings versus Ruben Hayrapetian.

On March 1 “Hetq” correspondent Grisha Balasanian filed a suit versus Ruben Hayrapetian at the court of general jurisdiction of Avan and Nor Nork administrative districts of Yerevan. The journalist demands to oblige the MP to present apologies, pay off a compensation of 1 million AMD (more than $ 2,700), as well as cover the court expenses. The suit on protecting the honor, dignity and compensating the moral damage is grounded by the RA Constitution provisions, international commitments of Armenia and case law of the European Court on Human Rights.