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Police Drop Case Against Newspaper Editor


Armenia - Hayk Gevorgian, a journalist of the "Haykakan Zhamanak" newspaper, is released from jail, Yerevan, 06Feb2012.

Armenia - Hayk Gevorgian, a journalist of the "Haykakan Zhamanak" newspaper, is released from jail, Yerevan, 06Feb2012.

The Armenian police have abandoned a criminal investigation into a prominent pro-opposition journalist who was arrested and spent three days in jail on highly controversial charges in February.

Hayk Gevorgian, the editor of the “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily, was charged at the time with hitting and injuring another man with a car driven by him on January 13. The police claimed that he did not help the man, Armen Frangulian, and instead verbally abused the latter before fleeing the scene. Frangulian confirmed this version of events.

However, Gevorgian and his newspaper strongly denied the allegations, saying that Frangulian never suffered any injuries. They alleged a police provocation organized in retaliation for Gevorgian’s scathing articles about Vladimir Gasparian, the chief of the national police. One of those articles was published on January 13.

Citing a lack of evidence, the police closed the criminal case this month. Gevorgian said on Monday that he is not satisfied with this development and will seek compensation from the police. He said has also demanded that law-enforcement authorities prosecute Frangulian on charges of “false denunciation.”

“That must be the first step,” Gevorgian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “After that, if law-enforcers want, they could establish who ordered the ‘accident’ involving Ashot Frangulian.”

“Now their goal is prevent the case from entering the court because if I start questioning Frangulian in the court the whole thing will be uncovered and, I think, will expose Vova Gasparian,” he said.
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