Regarding the course of the criminal case initiated on the fact of the use of police force against journalists and obstruction of their professional activities on June 23, 2015, Yerevan, during the dispersal of a protest against the hike in electricity tariffs
We, journalistic organizations, are deeply concerned with the course of the criminal case initiated on the fact of the use of police force against journalists and obstruction of their lawful professional activities on June 23, 2015, on Baghramyan Avenue, Yerevan, during the dispersal of the protest against the hike in electricity tariffs.
It is understandable that after a two-month period provided for the investigation, the RA Special Investigation Service, in accordance with the law, is given additional time for the exercise of their duties. However, we consider unacceptable the superficial approach and sluggishness of the Special Investigation Service.
The extensive criminal case, which includes also cases involving injured protesters, is managed by only one investigator. The latter proves inadequate attitude of law enforcers to this case.
Case in point, six out of twenty four reporters and cameramen who were abused or obstructed by the police during June rallies, are still not interrogated. These journalists are Tigran Khachatrian (Epress.am), Hayk Badalyan (“PhotoLur” agency), freelance photojournalist Gevorg Ghazarian, former and current employees of 1in.am Hovsep Hovsepian, Gor Hovhannisian, Aren Mkrtchyan. Correspondent of iLur.am Hakob Karapetian has not yet received the confiscated memory card of the camera, nor was compensated for it. Moreover, the police offered him an outrageous deal: the card will be returned to him if he retracts the complaint.
Taking into consideration the aforementioned, we request the following:
– The RA Special Investigation Service to urgently reconsider its approaches and assign a competent investigation team which will be able to investigate the criminal case thoroughly and objectively;
– The RA Prosecutor’s Office to exercise due control over the criminal case to identify and bring to justice those who impeded the work of the journalists and used force against them.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
“ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS’ CLUB
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB