Armenian Prosecutors Take Over Arrested Journalist’s Case

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A law-enforcement agency subordinated to state prosecutors on Wednesday took over the criminal case against a young journalist arrested on what she and Armenia’s leading media associations consider political grounds.

The Special Investigative Service (SIS) refused to say whether it will press charges against Ani Gevorgian, a 22-year-old correspondent for the “Haykakan Zhamanak” accused by the Armenian police of assaulting a police officer during an attempted opposition protest on Sunday.

Gevorgian was arrested on Monday during a fresh confrontation between riot police and opposition activists trying to enter Yerevan’s Liberty Square. Under Armenian law, law-enforcement authorities must formally charge or release her by Thursday afternoon.

According to her lawyer, Lusine Sahakian, Gevorgian is refusing to give any testimony because she “does not trust investigators in any way” and believes the case is “fabricated.”

Sahakian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Tuesday that her client is accused of hitting a police officer, identified as Hambardzum Boksian, in the face.

“She is now suspected of inflicting injuries of medium gravity on another policeman,” the lawyer said on Wednesday. “We still don’t know which policeman. We can only regret the fact that in the Armenian police there is more than one officer willing to claim that he was injured by a 22-year-old girl.”

A police spokesman declined a comment, referring all inquiries to the SIS. An official there told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the SIS will comment only after looking into the controversial case and taking “certain investigative actions.”

Armenia’s leading media associations have condemned the journalist’s arrest and demanded her immediate release.

“Just how a 23-year-old woman could have used force against police officers remains unclear,” six Armenian media groups said in a joint statement on June 1. They demanded the Armenian police immediately release Gevorgian and punish “the policemen who exceeded their legal powers.”

The statement further condemned the brief detention of two other journalists during the May 31 incident when police used force against several dozen opposition protesters.

“Her arrest and prosecution was unfounded,” Boris Navasardian, chairman of the Yerevan Press Club, echoed in remarks to RFE/RL. Navasardian said it is aimed at restricting and discouraging media coverage of further instances of the police using force against opposition activists.

“It’s very difficult to imagine a 22-year-old girl beating up a policeman,” said Ashot Melikian of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression. “That’s simply impossible.”

Another member of the committee, Mesrop Harutiunian, rejected the police claims as “ridiculous.” “The police are continuing to spread lies,” he charged. “We demand that Ani Gevorgian be set free and that those policemen who obstructed her work be punished.”

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9 Comments

  1. Norin Radd said:

    Ahmota genatzek yev zter eshi sootere havake, kextot avazakner. 700,000 hyer mer yerkiritz paxeren vorovhetev petutyan mech 90% antamnere ankeert yev anmakartak kentanineren xekavaroom.

    Poxaren vor mer jahel hyeotyan antamnerin pashtmanek, mek hat anmex axchikin uzumek zohek zter sooteri hamar. Enkan hyeutyan ke nexatznek zter gerpaneri hamar vor mi hor, BOLOR HYEUTYOONE gega Hyernik yev ztezi mek mek shan pes pateri dak ge gendakarhari yev ke morti. HERIKA AVAZAKNER ZTER SOOTERE SHAROONAKEK!

    Those corrupt in the Armenian government better be cleaned up very soon, the new generation of young Armenians worldwide has a much shorter fuse than their previous generation counterpart. For grown men to claim that this young lady has “assaulted” and “injured” a trained law enforcement officer is sheer lies, nothing more.

    The TRUTH “is a comin” for the enemies of the Armenian nation, Armenians and non-Armenians alike, and the TRUTH does not take prisoners and is filled with bloodlust.

  2. Avetis said:

    These types of “journalists” are either foreign agents or idiots. The so-called “opposition” in Armenia as well as their mindless supporters are made up of self-destructive morons, serves them right to be treated like crap.

  3. Ani said:

    Journalist Ani Gevorgyan was deliberately targeted for arrest for having pointed out that the Emperor (in this case, Chief of Police Alik Sargsyan) has no clothes. (audible on one of the tapes: “the girl in red! That’s her!) This is the kind of courage the Armenian Diaspora should applaud, not condemn! So what was the arrest really about? Read a post here: http://tzitzernak2.blogspot.com/2010/06/so-whats-all-fuss.html and watch and compare the two videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/tamazba#p/a/u/1/SctQtxKL_3o. I think it will be news to many that Armenia conducts naval rescues….

  4. john papazian said:

    So any Armenian who dosn’t follow your narrow little veiw of things deserves it? Will ARF police the streets to? Avetis I’ve seen your kind before,they wear all kinds of uniforms,and they all do the same thing.ARF,ARF, ARF,thats my other dog imatation.

  5. Vigen said:

    Dear Avetis, if you had an idea what human rights are about, you wouldn’t think what you’re thinking. You need a lot of education, like many of those who’ve turned Armenia into a miserable country.

  6. Avetis said:

    Dear Vigen, most of these humans (either simple minded idiots of paid foreign agents) do not quality for human rights. You need a lot to learn in life and in politics…

  7. Edward said:

    Avedis says ha ha ha avedis rather farts ,cause he `thinks` with his ass.Abush avepiss, in Bulgakov`s `A dog`s life` there`s a character like you – a stray dog taken from the street and being transplanted with a human heart-its called Sharik and its a symbol for vermin like you,although I respect animals – any animal has more honour than you.Now this is what the `simple-minded`,`idiots of paid foreign agents`,`mindless self- destructive morons`, `retarded diasporan peasants` have to say to you:GO SCREW YOURSELF -BUT ALWAYS PUT A CONDOM!!! – DONT GIVE AIDS A CHANCE!!! Now of course you`ll ask how can a dickless brat screw himself and you`ll never guess the answer simple as it is-put the condom on yer vodka bottle which is your only friend,and the only one to agree with you, unlike these bloody ARF peasants.

  8. Christo said:

    It’s sad that a young harmless female reporter has become a pawn in the hands of these rulers. This is what we fought the liberation for.

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