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Armenian Paper Sued By Kocharian’s Son


Levon Kocharian, right, pictured with his brother, sister and parents in 2003.

A district court in Yerevan opened hearings Thursday on a libel suit filed by the younger son of President Robert Kocharian against Armenia’s leading opposition newspaper.

The litigation stems from a February 6 report in the “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily which claimed that police in the United Arab Emirates arrested Levon Kocharian after he provoked a drunken fight while holidaying in Dubai in late December.

Levon Kocharian denied the allegation and demanded through his lawyers that “Haykakan Zhamanak” retract it. The newspaper rejected the demand, leading him to sue it for defamation of character.

Kocharian wants a the Yerevan court to force the popular daily to refute the report and pay over 16 million drams ($43,000) in compensatory damages. The lawsuit filed by his lawyers says that the report not only discredited the ex-president’s son but also damaged Armenia’s international reputation. Kocharian was already accused by the paper extremely critical of his father of engaging in violent behavior in the past.

The outspoken editor-in-chief of “Haykakan Zhamanak,” Nikol Pashinian, played a major role in massive anti-government demonstrations staged by the Armenian opposition in the wake of the disputed February 2008 presidential election. He was among opposition figures who went into hiding to escape arrest following the March 1, 2008 deadly clashes in Yerevan between security forces and opposition protesters.
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