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Armenia30 April 2009

Online journalist beaten by unknown assailants

Reporters Without Borders today voiced dismay after journalist Argishti Kivirian was brutally beaten by a gang of unknown assailants in the capital Yerevan, leaving him with very serious injuries.

“There has been a worrying upsurge in assaults on journalists in Armenia and this latest attack should be taken very seriously”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said, offering support to his family and calling on the authorities to do their utmost to find those responsible for “this cowardly and vile act”.

Kivirian, editor of the online news portal Armenia Today was set upon as he left his home this morning and viciously beaten about the head and body with wooden poles. He was taken for treatment at the Erebuni medical centre.

“His attackers also had firearms. We heard three gunshots and we dashed out of the apartment and went downstairs”, said the journalist’s sister, who was with his wife at the time. “Fortunately he wasn’t hit by bullets”, she said.

There was no obvious motive for the attack and the Armenian authorities said they had opened an investigation.

Lusine Barseghyan of opposition newspaper Haykakan Zhamanak, Hrach Melkumyan, bureau chief in Yerevan for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Edik Baghdasaryan, editor of online magazine Hetq and chairman of the association of investigative journalists were all attacked in similar circumstances in 2008.

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