Regarding the refusal to institute a criminal case on the incident with Aravot.am correspondent Hripsime Jebejyan during the May 14, 2017 Elections to Yerevan Council of Elders
At Malatia Division of Yerevan Department of the RA Police a decision was made to refuse to institute a criminal case on the threats and insults towards Hripsime Jebejyan, correspondent of “Aravot.am”. The incident happened at the precinct 7/46 of Malatia-Sebastia community of Yerevan on May 14, 2017, the day of elections to Yerevan Council of Elders.
Let us recall that Arayik Gevorgyan, member of the electoral commission of that precinct, in response to the journalist’s question on why the voters were showing him the ballots before dropping them into the ballot box, shouted: “If you were a man, I would smash your face, only then you would see, look at this whiffet…”. The footage of the incident was published on Aravot.am and other media.
The police refused to institute a criminal case substantiating the decision also with Gevorgyan’s explanation that, supposedly, “he did not threaten anyone, he just argued in a loud voice and made that statement out of respect that there was a woman standing in front of him”. Besides, it is quite surprising that the police ignored Article 164 of the RA Criminal Code (“Impeding a journalist’s legitimate professional activity”), referring only to Article 154, which stipulates charges for the violation of the voting process. The latter is related to the incident much less, but is likely to be the most convenient means for concealing the issue.
Another fact causes serious concerns: although the decision had been made on May 20, it was not provided to the journalist, and only due to her persistence and consistency, after turning to the RA Prosecutor General, did Hripsime Jebejyan receive the official notice on June 30.
Taking into consideration the above-mentioned, we, the undersigned, demand:
– RA Police Chief to subject to liability those who carried out the investigation on the May 14, 2017 incident at the precinct 7/46 for neglecting obvious evidence, for biased attitude and release of an unfounded decision;
– RA Prosecutor General’s Office to institute a criminal case in relation to the mentioned incident, exercise due control over it, ensuring its impartial investigation.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
“ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS’ CLUB
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE”
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS”
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
GORIS PRESS CLUB