By Ruzanna StepanianAngry relatives of a man murdered several years ago made their way into the office of a daily newspaper and assaulted its staff reporter for publishing an interview and a photo image of a man whom the court had found responsible for the crime.
Ruzan Minasian, a court reporter for “Aravot”, said the attack happened on Thursday afternoon shortly after she returned from an unrelated assignment. She said a group of women had earlier inquired about her whereabouts from her co-workers.
“Making sure I was in the office, a group of six women and one man entered the room where I was working and began to accuse me of publishing the viewpoints of Ararat Muradkhanian, whom the court had sentenced to life imprisonment, and insulting me in a rude manner,” Minasian told RFE/RL on Friday.
According to her, the intruders resorted to violence before she could explain anything.
“They began throwing any items they could find right in my face. The only man among them threatened they would not leave until I was dead,” said the journalist, who managed to escape with minor injuries.
Minasian’s colleagues called police who stopped the scuffle and took the most aggressive of the attackers to the precinct.
Minasian underwent a forensic examination and was recognized as a victim under a penal code article that deals with obstruction of professional activities and physical revenge.
Talking to RFE/RL, Minasian complained that journalists covering courts and judicial topics are unprotected in Armenia. “Everyday reporters covering the judiciary and legal matters receive threats and that’s why few of them remain in this field,” she said.
This is the second time in less than a month that a journalist suffers an attack in Armenia. Editor of the “Iskakan Iravunk” newspaper Hovannes Galajian was beaten up by unknown assailants on September 15.