“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that Edik Baghdasarian, a prominent investigative journalist and the editor of the Hetq.am online publication, has a received a series of threatening e-mails for publishing articles critical of tycoon Gagik Tsarukian. The author of letters referred to Tsarukian as a “king.” The paper says that Armenia’s National Security Service, acting on a complaint lodged by Baghdasarian, has concluded that the e-mails were sent from a Los Angeles suburb. The NSS told the journalist that there is little it can do about them as Armenia has no agreement with the United States on mutual extradition of criminal suspects. This led Baghdasarian to appeal to the U.S. embassy in Yerevan.
“Aravot” reports that one of its freelance correspondents, Gagik Shamshian, was attacked and beaten up late Tuesday by a group of men allegedly linked to Mher Hovannisian, the prefect of Yerevan’s Nubarashen district. The attack took place just hours after the RFE/RL Armenian service aired an interview with Shamshian in which he claimed to have been threatened by Hovannisian’s father for reporting that two alleged bank robbers arrested last week were related to the prefect. The paper quotes Shamshian as saying that Hovannisian’s brother Ruben was among the assailants.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” says the British government has granted political asylum to Aramazd Zakarian, a former senior member of the opposition Hanrapetutyun and National Self-Determination Union parties who claimed to have been persecuted by the Armenian authorities. The paper says that two prominent lawyers, Tigran and Marina Janoyans, left Armenia six months ago for similar reasons and are seeking political asylum in the United States. “At the heart of the Janoyans’ asylum application is not criminal prosecution but various threats and intimidations,” it says.
“Aravot” reports that the head of a Council of Europe body monitoring the fulfillment of Armenia’s commitments to the Strasbourg-based organization has expressed dismay at the Armenian government’s continuing refusal to reopen the A1+ television station. The paper says Roland Wegener criticized the ban on A1+ in a report submitted to the council’s Committee of Ministers.
Armen Rustamian, a leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), tells “Haykakan Zhamanak” that the nationalist party will not hesitate to stage protests against President Robert Kocharian if he embraces a “defeatist” solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “We don’t care which president presents views unacceptable to Dashnaktsutyun,” he says.
Interviewed by “168 Zham,” former Prime Minister Armen Darpinian confirms reports that his father Razmik has expressed a desire to join Dashnaktsutyun. Darpinian says that desire reflects the deplorable state of Armenia’s political scene. “Our fathers and representatives of the older generation, who are inherent carriers of the socialist and nationalist ideology, do not have a big choice for engaging in active politics,” he explains.