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Attacked Journalist Spurns ‘Mistaken Identity’ Case


Armenia -- Nver Mnatsakanian, a journalist and news anchor of the private Shant TV speaks hours after being attacked by unknown men in Yerevan on the night from May 6-7, 2009

Armenia -- Nver Mnatsakanian, a journalist and news anchor of the private Shant TV speaks hours after being attacked by unknown men in Yerevan on the night from May 6-7, 2009

A prominent television journalist who was beaten up by unknown men in May has dismissed the recently published police version that the attack on him was a case of ‘mistaken identity’.

Nver Mnatsakanian, who anchors news programs and hosts prime-time talk shows at the private Shant TV, suffered injuries to his head, foot and hand and required hospital treatment after unknown men attacked him in his neighborhood late on May 6.

The chief of Armenia’s national police Alik Sarkisian announced late last week that the attack proved “an absurd story” and that Mnatsakanian “had nothing to do with it.”

“This was a story involving a girl. Nver Mnatsakanian was mistaken for someone else,” Sarkisian said.

“This is the most absurd explanation. They could have found something more serious,” Mnatsakanian told RFE/RL, responding to Sarkisian’s suggestion that he might have been mistaken for some girl’s father.

“I don’t think there is an intention from the police chief to deviate the case. On the other hand, I am a little offended that the case gets this direction,” said the journalist, adding that his attackers were “thugs with shaven heads” rather than ordinary “young men” as the police presented them.

“It is a little surprising that thugs with shaven heads are chasing girls and then, it turns out, their fathers at midnight. It doesn’t sound like truth,” said Mnatsakanian.

The police chief said two young men had turned themselves in, had been interrogated and charged in connection with the case.

Meanwhile, Mnatsakanian presented his version of the events under which the men who reported to the police would become eligible for amnesty under the general amnesty declared in Armenia in June.
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