Hovhannes Ishkhanian, a young Armenian writer, is facing prosecution for a limited edition (300 copies) book he published, which the Armenian police claim contains pornography.
Ishkhanyan, 24, was summoned for questioning for his book “The Demob Day” by the military police and then by the Kentron police station. He was told at the Military police, that the book contained false information, discredited the army and insulted the religion and Armenian mothers.” Authorities threatened to open a case against the writer under 263rd article of the Criminal Code which foresees heavy penalties and a jail term of up to 3 years for “disseminating pornographic materials and objects.”
The situation with the police got me interested, so I read the book. Admittedly, reading was without enjoyment. The book contains too much violence and vulgar language for my taste, but that’s about it. One can hardly expect a book about the Armenian Army to contain a lot of tenderness and poetic speach – after wall, we’re talking about a structure, were dozens of soldiers die every year in non-combat situation, mainly because of hazing, violence and pressure, which forces soldiers into committing suicides.
The writer, who has published the book after returning from his conscription based military service, says it is fiction, even if it is partly derived from Ishkanian’s personal experience.
The heroes of the book, young soldiers who died or became crippled during military service, tell horror stories of mistreatment by military officers.
The terms with which the writer describes military officers, has clearly got them offended. It seems that it took the authorities are trying to figure out other ways to punish Ishkhanian.
Needless to say, that we’re witnessing a clear case of censorship, which is totally unacceptable.
Armenian internet activists and writer’s friends have launched a petition demanding to stop the persecutions against Hovhannes Ishkhanyan. If you agree with the statement above, please make sure to sign it.
Erebuni, Yerevan, Armenia