A prominent Armenian photojournalist claimed on Wednesday to have been verbally abused and attacked by a law-enforcement official outside of the Office of the Prosecutor-General.
The reported incident took place just before an annual meeting of Armenia’s state prosecutors that was also attended by top representatives of the police and other security agencies.
Shamshian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the official swore and repeatedly hit him in the head with a handbag before entering the prosecutors’ headquarters. He said he was attacked after refusing to stop taking the man’s pictures.
“I know that individual [by face] because he was present as a representative of an investigating body at various trials that I covered,” said Shamshian. “But I don’t know his name.”
Shamshian informed Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian about the incident at a news conference that followed the prosecutors’ meeting. He wondered if he can formally report it to the law-enforcement agency.
“Not only you can, but I, as prosecutor-general, demand that you present us with your photo and audio materials so that we can clear up [the circumstances,]” replied Hovsepian.
Shamshian underwent a medical examination at a hospital in Yerevan later in the day. Doctors there detected a bleeding injury in his ear.
Shamshian, who mainly works for two pro-opposition newspapers, has a history of physical abuse at the hands of security officers. He was also beaten up and hospitalized last March after a row with security guards at a state-run university in Yerevan.