On June 7 court of general jurisdiction of Avan and Nor Nork administrative districts of Yerevan ended the hearings on the suit of Grisha Balasanian, correspondent of “Hetq”, the newspaper of “Investigative Journalists” NGO, versus Ruben Hayrapetian, RA National Assembly MP and Chairman of the Football Federation of Armenia. As it has been reported, the subject matter of the litigation became the February 2, 2011 telephone conversation between the journalist and the MP. Grisha Balasanian had asked Ruben Hayrapetian to comment on some questions. In reply the deputy asked whether the journalist had a recorder on and after an affirmative answer 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. On February 27 the Special Investigative Service informed that the criminal proceedings on Article 164 of RA Criminal Code (“Impeding the legitimate professional activities of a journalist”) versus Ruben Hayrapetian will not be instituted for absence of corpus delicti. As a result, Grisha Balasanian filed a civil suit on protection of the honor and dignity and compensation of moral damage, demanding 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 hearings on the case started on April 27 (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 22-28, 2011).
At the session of June 7 the court revoked the suit as baseless – “in view of absence of materials norms and proofs”. Grisha Balasanian told YPC that the court sought to reduce the incident between the MP and the journalist to an interpersonal conflict, which is wrong, as he was accomplishing his professional duties. Besides, the reference to “absence of proofs”, while having the record of the telephone conversations, also raises confusion. Grisha Balasanian noted that intends to appeal the judgment.