On October 7, “GALA” TV company in Gyumri informed that the European Court of Human Rights accepted the lawsuit of “GALA” founder, “CHAP” LLC, against the Republic of Armenia (“‘GALA’ TV Case Accepted for Processing by the European Court of Human Rights”, “GALA” website, October 7, 2013). The piece states that the application to initiate the case was submitted to the ECHR in March 2009 by attorneys Karen Tumanian and Edmon Marukian. In an interview by the TV company the latter mentioned that the lawsuit was in particular justified by Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, guaranteeing the right to fair trial, as well as excessively high sanctions administered against the TV company as a result of tax audits. The attorney underlined that the European Court addressed questions to the RA Government for clarifications.
As we have reported, on March 19, 2008, the RA Administrative Court passed a decision on the dispute between Gyumri Tax Inspection and the founder of “GALA”, obliging the latter to pay the tax debt and the relevant fines into the state budget. With the court fees and further fines, imposed on “CHAP”, the total outstanding sum was about $100,000. The tax audit at “CHAP” and the subsequent legal proceedings (including the protracted and finally lost dispute with Gyumri Municipality regarding the right to use the city TV tower) began after the October 22, 2007 announcement by the owner of “CHAP” Vahan Khachatrian on the attempts of various power agencies to put pressure on “GALA”. Armenian and international organizations believe that the following judicial and fiscal persecutions of the oppositional TV company were politically motivated (for details see Yerevan Press Club Reports “On Freedom of Speech in Armenia” in 2007-2011).