Hayk Gevorgian, a veteran journalist prosecuted on controversial charges, insisted on Tuesday that his arrest last week was government retribution for his critical reports about the chief of the Armenian police.
Gevorgian, who was released from pre-trial custody on Monday, again categorically denied police claims that he ran over a man in Yerevan on January 13 in a car belonging to his “Haykakan Zhamanak” newspaper.
According to the police, the middle-aged man, Ashot Frangulian, suffered injuries of “medium gravity” when he was hit by the car. The police say Gevorgian fled the scene without helping Frangulian.
“It’s not that it only seemed to me that the car didn’t hit him and that in fact there was contact. He was several dozen centimeters away from the car,” Gevorgian told a news conference. “He held his leg and cried, looking around to see who will notice him.”
The journalist added that he then got out of the car, berated the man and threatened to call police. “He didn’t say a word and I thought what he planned didn’t happen and left the place,” he said.
Gevorgian went on to allege that the incident was a provocation ordered by the police chief, Vladimir Gasparian, in retaliation for his scathing articles. He claimed that it was authorized by more-level authorities.
The police shrugged off on Friday similar claims that were made by “Haykakan Zhamanak” editor Nikol Pashinian and representatives of other media outlets. The police also said Gevorgian was detained because of ignoring police summonses.
Gevorgian stood by his and Pashinian’s claims that the written orders were not drawn up in accordance with Armenian law. He warned that he will show up for further questioning only if the police write them properly.