Paskaleva Determined to Defend Babayan

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Bulgarian journalist Tsvetana Paskaleva states that she is now "on the other side of the barricades"–against the current authorities of Nagorno Karabakh. According to her–the reason for this is her rising in defense of the former commander of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic Defense Army–Samvel Babayan who is charged with plotting the attempted assassination of Karabakh President Arkady Ghukassian.

At her September 30 news conference–Paskaleva stated that she began experiencing pressure immediately after the assassination attempt–on March 26–when she arrived in Stepanakert with the ARF representative Kim Balayan to find out the circumstances of the case. The next step–she said–was the closure of her TV program Aspect on the Armenian National Television. Paskaleva said that after the broadcast of another program with the representative of the Right and Unity parliamentary faction Haik Babukhanian–who demanded that Samvel Babayan’s trial be held in Armenia–she was invited to Director of the Armenian National Television Tigran Naghdalian–who said that the program was followed by a great scandal–and the Karabakh authorities were indignant towards it. Naghdalian offered the journalist to go on holiday–saying he would try to settle the conflict. "I asked him several times: are you a man of your word–that I’ll return?. He said–`Yes–you’ll return on September 20′," Paskaleva said. She pointed out that previously she had not distrusted Naghdalian. However–shortly before September 20 she understood from an interview that Naghdalian had closed her program because her "bad Russian".

At its sitting in Stepanakert–the court did not allow Paskaleval to act as Samvel Babayan’s public defender–because she is a foreign citizen. "The most hated thing that I hear then was the word `foreigner’," Paskaleva said.

Thereafter–by the order of Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian–the journalist was deprived of her flat in Stepanakert–that was provided for her by Samvel Babayan.

"If all things remain as they are–I will not leave Armenia all the same. I considered it my highest responsibility and honor to defend the interests of Nagorno Karabakh at all international forums. Today–I consider it my duty to defend Samvel Babayan’s honor," Paskaleva said.

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