Reporters Without Borders Calls for Fair Trial

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)The Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontiers organization addressed its concerns regarding the treatment of fellow journalist Argishti Kivirianarrested during the post-election crackdown in Armeniain a letter to Armenia’s Prosecutor-General Artavazd Gevorkian.

The group voiced hope that the "Sept. 25" trial–in which Kivirian is a co-defendant charged with participation in mass disorders–will be fair.

In Friday’s court session–the presiding judge–once again–prohibited defendants from seeking counsel from attorneys representing defendants from the so called "Trial of 31."

Below is the full text of the Feb. 7 letter signed by General-Secretary Robert Menard.

Reporters Sans Frontieres–an independent organization working to defend press freedom worldwide–expresses its deep concern about the trial of Argishti Kivirian–a student in journalism and free-lancer for various periodicals.

According to our information–on September 25–Argishti Kivirian was arrested when demonstrators of the political opposition attacked the Central Electoral Commission premises in Yerevan after the results of the presidential election were announced. He was only following the crowd to the building in order to cover these events. Nevertheless–he was charged with "participation in mass disturbances." On 14 November–he began a hunger strike in order to protest against his detention.

Finally–as he was in bad health and the authorities had paid no attention to his case–he decided to stop his hunger strike.

The next hearing of his trial is scheduled for today [Friday]. Reporters Sans Frontieres is worried about the grounds for Argishti Kivirian’s imprisonment. Our organization asks you to consider Argishti Kivirian as a journalist and not as a troublemaker and hopes that this trial will be fair.

We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to your reply.

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