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Armenia28 November 2008

An alleged assailant of journalist Edik Baghdasaryan gives himself up to police

One of the alleged assailants of journalist Edik Baghdasaryan, gave himself up to police on 26 November 2008. Karen Haroutiunian refused to comment and his motives remain unknown.

Very little is known about him or his accomplices in the brutal assault on the chairman of the investigative journalists’ association in Yerevan on the evening of 17 November 2008.

Three men set upon the editor of online magazine Hetq, as he was about to get into his car. Edik Baghdasaryan fought off his assailants until one of them hit him on the head with a stone. He was taken to hospital for treatment but has since returned home.

Armenian leaders have been visiting him to offer them support and on 19 November, journalists, representatives of NGOs and students at the journalism faculty rallied in Yerevan between the prosecutor’s office and the presidency to protest against violence against journalists, the perpetrators of which are very rarely caught.

Sona Truzian, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said on 24 November that a preliminary investigation opened under Article 113 of the criminal code (assault resulting in moderate to severe injuries) had led to one of Baghdasaryan’s attackers being identified.


Call for thorough investigation into assault on investigative journalist

Reporters Without Borders calls for a “prompt and exhaustive” investigation into yesterday’s assault in Yerevan on Edik Baghdasaryan, the head of the Armenian Association of Investigative Journalists and editor of Hetq, an online newspaper published by the association.

“Such a violent attack on an independent journalist who covers corruption and crime is, at the very least, disturbing” Reporters Without Borders said. “As prompt and exhaustive an investigation as possible must be carried out as a matter of urgency in order to identify his assailants.”

Baghdasaryan was assaulted by three unidentified men as he was about to get into his car at about 8 p.m. yesterday in Yerevan. They beat him repeatedly and one of them hit on the head with a stone before they all made off. He was admitted to St. Grigor Lusarovich hospital for treatment.

In an interview for local TV station A1+, Baghdasaryan said his assailants seemed to have been waiting for him and began their attack without saying a word. A camera belonging to Hetq, the online newspaper he edits, was stolen during the attack. After his assailants had left, he requested help from a neighbouring apartment building.

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said he was “worried” by the attack on Baghdasaryan after visiting him in hospital today. Sona Truzyan, the spokesperson for the prosecutor-general’s office, said the incident was being investigated as an “assault” under article 113 of the criminal code.

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