Մատչելիության հղումներ

Top Lawyer Slams Police Probe Of Journalist’s Beating


Armenia -- Lawyer Ruben Sahakian, left, and human rights activist Avetik Ishkhanian hold a news conference in Yerevan on May 5, 2009.

A prominent lawyer heading Armenia’s bar association harshly criticized on Tuesday the official criminal investigation into last week’s severe beating of Argishti Kivirian, editor of the Armenia Today online news agency.

Ruben Sahakian described the April 30 assault as an attempt on Kivirian’s life and accused the Armenian police of grossly understating its gravity.

Kivirian, 36, was ambushed by unknown assailants outside his apartment in downtown Yerevan early in the morning. He was hospitalized with serious injuries to his body and especially head. He has remained in hospital since then.

The police promptly launched an investigation into the attack but have made no arrests so far. The probe is being conducted under Article 117 of the Armenian Criminal Code that deals with assaults resulting in only “light injuries.”

Armenia -- Argishti Kivirian, editor of Armenia Today news agency, pictured in a Yerevan hospital shortly after being attacked on April 30, 2009.

Sahakian decried this fact as he held a news conference with two well-known civil rights activists. “How can someone who considers himself a professional jurist fail to understand that the head is an organ of vital importance to a human being?” he said.

“Only a person lacking the grey stuff (brains) can think that the head is not such an organ,” added the chairman of Armenia’s Chamber of Advocates. He demanded that the police view Kivirian’s beating as a murder attempt and conduct the inquiry accordingly.

Avetik Ishkhanian, chairman of the Armenian Helsinki Committee, suggested that the attack on Kivirian, who also owns a Yerevan-based law firm, was politically motivated and related to his journalistic activities. He argued that Kivirian has not handled major criminal cases of late.

There have also been suggestions that the attack on the editor was an act of revenge for professional activities of his wife, Lusine Sahakian. The latter has risen to prominence over the past year as the defense lawyer of Gagik Jahangirian, a former deputy prosecutor-general arrested in February 2008 after voicing support for opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian.

Sahakian dismissed that theory on Tuesday, saying that government agents would have no problem attacking her. “I am inclined to think that this was related to Argishti’s media activities because I don’t think that those people have enough integrity not to attack a woman,” she said.

XS
SM
MD
LG