Violence Against Journalists And The “Trash Can-Leaks” Criminal Case Has Reopened

Gagik Aghbalyan

The Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Armenia has resumed the dropped case of 2017 regarding acts of violence committed against journalists Tirayr Muradyan and Tatev Khachatryan, as well as the criminal case on the distribution of electoral bribes.

Last year, during the days of election campaigning for Council Members, the articles with the titles “A journalist was subjected to violence at Margaryan’s headquarters” and “Haykakan Zhamanak (armtimes) journalists are attacked and sworn at near Taron Margaryan’s headquarters,” were published on the website armtimes.com regarding an incident where journalists Tirayr Muradyan and Tatev Khachatryan visited Taron Margaryan’s campaign headquarters to check on a tip regarding electoral bribes, when a group of people hindered their work.

The website news.am published an article titled “Money has been brought to Taron Margaryan’s headquarters, Pashinyan is in one of Taron Margaryan’s headquarters,” about Yerevan City Council Candidate Nikol Pashinyan’s visit to Yerevan City Council Candidate Taron Margaryan’s pre-electoral headquarters on 56 Komitas Street in Yerevan, where Pashinyan announced that, on the same day, SAS Supermarket’s internal cash collection staff member had transferred a sum of money to Margaryan’s headquarters, for the purpose of distributing election bribes, or beginning to prepare for that process. On the same day in a video he posted on Facebook, Nikol Pashinyan presented the documents proving that those leaving the headquarters had the intent of bribing voters.

On July 25, 2017, a decision was made to terminate the criminal proceedings on the grounds of absence of offenses as set forth in Articles 149, 1542, and 165 of the RA Criminal Code.  

Special Investigation Service (SIS) Spokesperson Marina Ohanjanyan told media.am in an interview, that on June 7, 2011, based on the decision of the Yerevan Court of First Instance, the prosecutor decided to abolish the decision to terminate the criminal proceedings sent to the the RA Special Investigation Service, to investigate the criminal case. The above mentioned criminal case was admissible on June 11, by the investigator of the RA Special Investigation Service.

An investigation is underway. “Large-scale interrogations are planned, investigative actions are being carried out. Taking into account the interests of the preliminary investigation, there are some important circumstances in the criminal case,” said Marina Ohanjanyan.   

Gagik Aghbalyan

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