On September 7 the representatives of the RA Service of Compulsory Execution of Judicial Acts came to the editorial office of “Hraparak” and presented a court decision on the arrest of the property of the daily’s founder, “Hraparak Oratert” LLC, in the amount of 3 million AMD (about $ 8,200), as a measure to secure the suit. Another measure applied was the restraint imposed on “Hraparak” on publishing any information on the case – until the court renders a judgment. The ground for the compulsory execution was the August 31, 2011 decision of the court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan.
On September 8 the copy of the decision on the compulsory execution was published by “Hraparak” and accompanied with an editorial “Which Judge is Higher than the RA Constitution?” The article expressed bewilderment and informed that “Hraparak” has received neither the suit, nor the decision that became ground for imposing sanctions versus the daily. According to “Hraparak” allegations, the suit may have been submitted by Misak Martirosian, Head of the RA Judicial Department.
Meanwhile, on September 9 the RA Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasian made a statement in which he expressed deep concerns regarding any kind of threats versus the freedom of expression and media, as well as the improper application of legislation in this sphere. Stressing that he does not have any competence to interfere with the cases that are pending at court, the ombudsman urged the government to refrain from any actions that curtail the freedom of expression and information, “which in fact result in establishing a culture of censorship”. The message lists the case law principles of the European Court on Human Rights on a prior ban on the publication (the case of “Observer” and “The Guardian” versus UK): even a short-term delay of the publication, specifically, where the press is concerned, deprives a journalist’s article of a large part of its interest.