Armenian TV Station Editor Assaulted While Reporting on Road Building Project

Update: 14 Nov 2017 State replied
Year 05 Oct 2017 Country Armenia Category Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Source of threat Non-state Partner AEJ Alert level Level 2
05 Oct 2017 Armenia Attacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists Non-state AEJ Level 2

On the evening of 28 September 2017, Narine Avetisyan, the chief editor of Lori television station in Vanadzor, Armenia's third largest city, was violently assaulted while filming the asphalting of a road in heavy rain. Local media and the Helsinki Citizens Assembly (HCA) Vanadzor human rights network reported that Tigran Nazaryan, the head of the Shinplus construction company, and some of his colleagues, assaulted Narine Avetisyan, throwing her to the ground and seizing the mobile phone she was using to film the work. Reports say the mobile phone was later found with the video images of the asphalting work deleted. HCA Vanadzor and the Yerevan Press Club have called on state prosecutors and other relevant authorities to investigate the case diligently and to bring those responsible to justice. Narine Avetisyan has reportedly been attacked five times while on various journalistic assignments. In the first four cases she was reporting on corruption-related stories involving local officials and no perpetrators were so far identified or charged.

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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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