On March 21, 2008 at 01:05 AM there was an arson attack on Gyumri Journalists’s Club “Asparez” President Nadezhda Hakobyan’s car, which at that time was in use by the Club’s Board Chairman Levon Barseghyan.
Levon Barseghyan is sure, that this arson attack is directly related with his efforts to protect GALA TV and the strict criticism of authorities voiced by him on that and a number of other occasions. He is also sure, that this incident is related to the number of threatening phone calls received by the club, as well as the arson attack attempted on the night of January 18, when the club’s window was put on fire.
It is also noteworthy, that on February 25 the Gyumri mayor had directly insulted and threatened “GALA” TV and “Asparez” Club, stating, that “…there are a couple of sections that disgust people. This is the “GALA section” and “Asparez section”… it is time for them come to their senses, too”. At the time the local police refused to file a criminal case based on the appeal of “Asparez” against the mayor for threatening and insulting them based on this sentence, “due to lack of corpus delicti (body of crime)”.
Meanwhile, according to the data by 22:30, on March 20th, the amount raised in support of GALA TV has reached 11.673.570 drams, which is around 46,47 % of the amount needed to save this small regional TV company. This increadable activity of citizens in support of Freedom of Speech has obviously raised the dislike of the authorities, and the idiosyncratic Gyumri mayor in particular. The latter has spoken on Gyumri “Shant” TV at around 9 PM on March 20th, when the GALA Telethon was in progress on GALA TV channel, and has urged the supporters of the TV to stop helping GALA, and claiming, that the small TV facing a closure if vital amount is not collected, has already received the necessary amount from the HHSH (Levon Ter-Petrossian’s party), and now they’re simply lying and collecting money for their personal gain. Needless to say that GALA supporters deny all these charges.
At any rate, this is a very troublesome development, and if the Armenian authorities want to do anything useful for this country, they should make sure the Gyumri mayor and all the state backed criminals working in various government institutions in Gyumri, including the National Security Service, Tax inspection and the Administrative Court, are fired from their positions and serve their terms for attacking the highest values of Freedom of Speech and Expression, guaranteed by the Supreme Law of this country – THE ARMENIAN CONSTITUTION!
[…] and The Armenian Observer report on an arson attack on pro-opposition civil society activist Levon Barseghyan in Gyumri. Both […]
It’s like freaking Sicily.
Yeah… Levon Barseghyan is my very good friend. When he comes to Yerevan, I often ride back to Gyumri with him, in his car… Fuck! When I saw his car burned… when I see these things happening to people who are so close and dear to me – I understand, that none of us is secure in this country! I realise, that I could have been sitting in Levon’s car one of these days, when such an attack would happen… and there would be no more Observer to write this lines. And worst of all – nobody would be even punished after that…
I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate this fucken atmosphere of permissiveness for those, whom the authorities owe the rigged elections. I understand, that no amount of police investigations will ever bring Gyumri Mayor – idiotic Vardan Ghukasyan to jail for burning Levon’s car! And that thought is simply unbearable!
On March 21, 2008 at 01.05 AM there was an arson attack on the car of Gyumri Journalist’s Club “Asparez” President Nadezhda Hakobian, which at that time was in use by the Club’s Board Chairman Levon Barseghian.
Levon Barseghian is sure, that this incident is directly related to his efforts to protect “GALA” TV and the strict criticism of authorities voiced by him on that and a number of other occasions, as well as the number of threatening phone calls addressed to him and the Club, and the arson attempt of “Asparez” office on the morning of January 19, 2008.
Let us also remind, that on February 25, 2008 the Gyumri Mayor publicly insulted and threatened “GALA” TV and “Asparez” Club, stating, that “in our city there are a couple of sections that disgust people. This is the “GALA section” and “Asparez section” (…), let them come to their senses, too”. “Asparez” appealed to the local police to file a criminal case against the Mayor for insulting, libeling and threatening, but was refused “due to lack of corpus delicti”.
We state that this assault in Gyumri against the independent journalistic organization is the direct consequence, from one side, of banning any form of dissent, political persecutions, hindering the work of opposition and independent organizations and media, from the other – preferential permissiveness of persons and bodies amiable to the authorities. The unprecedented activity of citizens in support of the freedom of speech and “GALA” TV under such conditions has probably caused the dislike of some persons and especially the Gyumri Mayor, who on March 20 urged the citizens not to support “GALA” speaking on another TV channel in Gyumri.
We strictly condemn this illicit act against our colleagues, and as none of the attacks against “Asparez” has been so far disclosed by Gyumri law-enforcement bodies, and this failure has made the criminals further unrestrained, we demand that investigation of all these incidents should be conducted by national law-enforcement bodies.
Yerevan Press Club
Committee to Protect Freedom of Speech
Media Diversity Institute-Armenia
Internews Media Support NGO
Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center
“ArmInfo” News Agency
Vanadzor Press Club
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Office
“Haykakan Zhamanak” Daily
Freedom of Information Center of Armenia
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