By Karine Kalantarian
Prosecutors investigating last week’s grenade attack on a well-known Armenian journalist said on Tuesday that they have questioned “numerous witnesses” but still have no inkling of who might have been behind it.
Officials in the prosecutor’s office of Yerevan told RFE/RL that no suspects have emerged so far in the week-long investigation into the blast which seriously wounded Mark Grigorian, deputy director of the Swiss-funded Caucasus Media Institute based in the Armenian capital. One source said the investigators have not yet collected “clear and explanatory testimony” shedding more light on the attack.
The prosecutors had earlier described the attack as an attempt on the journalist’s life.
Grigorian, who suffered shrapnel wounds to the head and chest, was released from hospital on Monday. Speaking to RFE/RL from home, he suggested that he was targeted by those unspecified forces that “do not want to see people with independent thinking in Armenia.” “I can not be controlled by any political force,” he said.
Grigorian had initially linked the grenade blast to his collection of material for an article on the third anniversary of the 1999 parliament shootings, which he planed to write for a London-based online publication on the Caucasus. But he said on Tuesday that his broader journalistic and analytical work was a more likely cause of the attack.
The attack has been condemned by many journalists and government officials, including Prime Minister Andranik Markarian. Also adding its voice to the outcry was the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New-York based international media watchdog. "We call on Armenian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice," its executive director, Ann Cooper, said in a statement on October 24.
Some Armenian media fear that the grenade attack could further endanger press freedom in the country. Nikol Pashinian, editor of the pro-opposition daily “Haykakan Zhamanak,” implicitly blamed the authorities for the incident. Pashinian, who has twice faced criminal proceedings on libel charges, said he and his reporters work under constant “psychological pressure” from the government.