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Four Men Charged Over Attack On Pro-Opposition Publication


Armenia -- The entrance to the offices of the Hayeli.am publication, Yerevan, October 5, 2019.

The Investigative Committee said on Tuesday that it has indicted four government supporters who reportedly attacked the offices of an online publication critical of the Armenian authorities.

The young men threw eggs and plastered offensive posters at the entrance to the Hayeli.am offices in Yerevan on October 5 in protest against what they called a pro-Azerbaijani headline of an article published by the news website.

The article was about Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s public reaction a statement on the Nagorno-Karabakh made by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in August. “Aliyev’s belated but ‘strong’ response to Pashinian,” read the headline.

The attackers said during the incident that Hayeli.am must no longer be able to operate. They also stressed the fact that its editor, Anzhela Tovmasian, is the sister of Hrayr Tovmasian, the chairman of Armenia’s Constitutional Court facing growing government pressure to resign.

The attack was condemned by Armenia’s leading political forces. The Hayeli.am staff described it as an act of “political persecution.”

The four men, all of them known as ardent supporters of Pashinian, were questioned by the police the day after the incident.

In a statement, the Investigative Committee said that they have been charged with obstructing the work of journalists, a criminal offense in Armenia punishable by up to one year of community service and fines ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 drams ($420-$840). The law-enforcement body added that it is continuing the investigation.

On Monday, Anzhela Tovmasian claimed to be receiving more threats from the suspects and demanded that the Investigative Committee provide her with security guards.

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