On April 23, at about 17.30 in Yerevan, at the campaign event of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), running in the Yerevan Council of Elderly elections (incumbent Mayor Taron Margarian heads the electoral list of the party) an incident occurred with Hakob Karapetian, correspondent of iLur.am. On the same day, iLur.am published an editorial (“Member of the Council of Elderly from the RPA Ashot Papayan Beats iLur.am Correspondent”), where the incident is described in the account of Hakob Karapetian. According to iLur.am, the journalist was shooting on a videocamera the event organizers distributing balloons to the children, when some people approached him and tried to find out who he was and what he was doing there. The journalist answered that he “was carrying out his lawful professional duties”, and to which one of the men told him: “Now do you want us to threat you by our laws?” The skirmish drew the attention of one of the organizers of the event, who was in a blue jacket with stripes. The man came up to Hakob Karapetian and hit the journalist swearing at him. As iLur.am stressed, it later identified the assaulter – Ashot Papayan, a member of Yerevan Council of Elderly from the RPA, who is again running in these elections by the RPA electoral list . The other participants of the skirmish joined the man and started to pull and give blows to the journalist. Then they took away the videocamera from Hakob Karapetian, and not long after returned it, but with deleted files. According to iLur.am, a police major, who was present at the site, did not intervene in the incident. However, he told the journalist that he had called the police station. When the event started and Hakob Karapetian resumed the shooting, somebody from the police called him, recommending to address the police officers present at the site, and report about the incident. In reply, Hakob Karapetian told them that he was assaulted in front of hundreds of people, including the police major, and nobody interfered. Now that he was standing at a place, where there were a dozen of police officers, somebody told him that he should be the one to come up to the police officer. Thus, Hakob Karapetian dropped the call.
Later, on the same day, April 23, iLur.am published another piece about the incident, which contained the photos of the man in a blue jacket and the police major, who was at the site of the incident. In the April 24 article, “The 34-Years Member of the Council of Elderly, Who Beat the Journalist, Is a University Student Since 2006”, iLur.am provided the details of Ashot Papayan’s biography.
On April 24, the RA Police stored a communication on its website, “The Circumstances Are Being Investigated”. The police report, particularly, stressed that Hakob Karapetian should undergo a forensic medical examination in connection with the incident and that an investigation is being conducted.
Several media, political parties and NGOs, including the RA Human Rights Defender, came up with statements condemning the assault of the journalist.