The Journalist Attacked In Artsakh Hopes For A Legal Resolution

Marianna Danielyan


Civilnet’s Artsakh reporter, Hayk Ghazaryan, has filed a complaint with the Artsakh State Prosecutor’s Office regarding an attempted abduction and resulting physical injuries.

On July 11, they attacked the journalist in Stepanakert and tried to abduct him. Hayk says the incident occurred in Stepanakert, near the Civilnet office. People in civilian clothes caught him, forced him into the alley, and tried to abduct him. The journalist was hit in the nose, and evidence of the violence is left on his body.

Hayk stated in his Facebook video that he identified two of the offenders, dressed in civilian clothing, as employees of the Minister of Internal Affairs in Artsakh, Karen Sargsyan.

In his video, Hayk said, “I don’t understand, what makes them believe that things can be done this way? Why are they trying to threaten me? There is the impending genocide upon Karabakh, and they are terrorizing people?”.

The first incident with the journalist occurred on July 9, when a policeman confiscated Hayk Ghazaryan’s phone, with which he was filming while covering the protest in front of the Artsakh National Security Service and the Prosecutor’s Office. According to the journalist, the person who confiscated the phone was the head of the criminal investigation department of the Artsakh Ministry of Internal Affairs, Colonel Arayik Gasparyan.

With the help of Artsakh’s human rights defender, Hayk’s phone was returned at the police station. Unfortunately, the video recordings of the protests had been deleted.

After being released from the police station, Hayk posted a video on Facebook. In the video, he criticized the police officers and requested clarification from the police and the Minister of Internal Affairs regarding the incident.

In his video message, Hayk addressed the Minister of Internal Affairs Karen Sargsyan saying that working takes more than just posting nice pictures. He asked the minister to ensure his employee’s proper conduct,  “Your employee seized my phone without asking or warning and later deleted the recordings. I don’t know. Learn to work,” Hayk said in the video message.

During the conversation with, Hayk Ghazaryan said that following his Facebook video message, he was called to the NSS of Artsakh, where he was strongly urged to publicly apologize to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the NSS.

Hayk said he did not apologize because he believed he had not offended anyone. Although he may have spoken with heightened emotions, he did not overstep any boundaries. However, his refusal to apologize further enraged them, as evidenced by their attempted abduction.

The journalist says that years ago, incidents of violence were more common, but recently, it seemed that the situation had significantly changed for the better. Even he was surprised by how the events unfolded. According to Hayk, the reason for the incident is the atmosphere of impunity. In certain instances, officials believe they have complete autonomy to act as they please without any criticism of their performance.

Civilnet’s Artsakh office has been operational for three years. Karen Harutyunyan, the editor-in-chief, says that they were not pressured or restricted during these years. According to the editor, what happened is a local, interpersonal problem; the police are seeking retribution on Hayk for disobeying them.

“All this was the result of outdated, stereotypical thinking, the habit of seeing an enemy in a journalist, seeing the bad, and solving all issues by force; they don’t even take into account the important work journalists do in the conditions of the blockade, such behavior of the police is absurd, to say the least,” says the editor-in-chief of Civilnet.

Harutyunyan hopes that the Artsakh president and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff understand that the incident can significantly damage the country’s international reputation. The editors expect that those responsible will face the consequences and that there will be clear reactions and dismissals.

Civilnet condemned the National Security Service of Artsakh for threatening journalist Hayik. They urged the power structures not to interfere with the journalist’s work. However, the abduction attempt followed this announcement.

The staff of the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh has initiated a discussion procedure regarding the incident. The HRD of Artsakh, Gegham Stepanyan, has strongly denounced the violent assault on a journalist. He has called upon law enforcement agencies to take immediate and appropriate actions to uncover the facts of this case, identify the individuals responsible for this alleged crime, and ensure that justice is served.

Marianna Danielyan

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