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Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Nikol Pashinyan: Armenian authorities pressing freedom of speech

2012-02-07 21:42

Nikol Pashinyan: Armenian authorities pressing freedom of speech. 26349.jpeg

One of these days, Ajk Gevorkyan, the make-up editor for the Ajkakan Jamanak (Armenian Time) newspaper was arrested in Yerevan for a road accident. According to the policemen's version, on January 23, Gevorkyan's motor car ran down a pedestrian and the journalist escaped from Armenia. He was found only on February 3. Gevorkyan's colleagues think his pursuit a political order in the run-up to the coming parliamentary elections.

In the morning of February 3, not far from the Ajkakan Jamanak newspaper office, policemen arrested Ajk Gevorkyan, the make-up editor. After a long interrogation at the police station, the detainee was put in Nubarashen prison, with strict isolation measures applied in his respect. Such measures are generally applied only to dangerous criminals. He was unavailable for relatives, colleagues and his attorney. What kind of crime has the journalist committed?

According to the police, this January 23, Gevorkyan ran down a pedestrian and disappeared without rendering any help to his victim. Law-enforcement officers assert they could not find Gevorkyan for ten days running and arrested him by mere chance. But the journalist's colleagues immediately called the case absurd and ordered. They say Gevorkyan did not hide anywhere all of these days, continuing to perform his professional duty. On the day of his arrest, the Ajkakan Jamanak team convened a press-conference. The pursuit of the journalist was estimated as the authorities' pressure on liberation of speech in Armenia.

Ajk Gevorkyan is one of the most popular journalists of Armenia, the author of scandalous revelations in the top echelons of the country's power. That is why he and his family have been chased many times. The case of beating Gevorkyan by some strangers was given wide publicity in April 2004. In July 2009, his 14-year-old son Herbert, an activist of the oppositional Armenian National Congress party, was arrested. In August 2011, the police arrested and beat his other son, Vaagn.

Protest actions in Ajk Gevorkyan's support were held this weekend in Yerevan and today the journalist was released on signing an undertaking not to leave the place. According to the Prosecutor's Office, the arrested person "has never been trialed, had a permanent job and a place of residence". Naturally, no apologies were made to the journalist.

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