Prominent oppositionist, jailed editor of “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily Nikol Pashinian took his time to mock the court and make political statements, as hearings opened in a High Court on an appeal lodged by his lawyers against a January court ruling which sentenced the oppositionist to seven years in prison for his alleged role in the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan.
“The authorities have failed to achieve their objective,” said the 34-year-old editor of the pro-opposition “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily, RFE/RL reports. “A civic movement in Armenia is continuing and it will end in victory. It can’t have any other outcome regardless of whether or not they [the authorities] try, shoot or do anything else,” he added to rapturous applause from supporters attending the proceedings.
Other than Pashinian’s appearance since he was locked away in January, the court hearing was uneventful, with Pashinian’s side sticking to their old strategy of making more political statements, than legal ones, which is probably justified given the politicized nature of the trial.
On January 19 a Yerevan court of the first instance found him guilty of stirring up the “mass disturbances” that left ten people dead and more than 200 others injured. Pashinian and the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), of which is a prominent member, denounced the verdict as politically motivated. Pashinian’s lawyers appealed it late last month, saying that their client is innocent and must be acquitted.
State prosecutors, who had demanded a eight-year jail term for the outspoken oppositionist, filed a separate appeal. They want the Court of Appeals to overturn the lower court’s decision to clear him of a separate accusation of assaulting a police officer during an October 2007 opposition demonstration in the Armenian capital.