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Internet Legal Politics Security Social Networks

A Facebook user detained on pretext of “endangering national security” in Armenia

A Facebook user, who recently came to the center of public attention for posting misinformation under the pseudonym Դիանա Հարությունյան (Diana Harutyunyan) has been detained by the National Security Service of Armenia, after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the user’s posting a threat to national security.

The Facebook account in question seems to be deleted by now. Last time I accessed it, the account’s About section made it clear that it is a sarcastic and/or parody account.

Following the US Drone strike in Iraq, which killed the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the Facebook user had posted misinformation, as if theArmenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has congratulated the US President Donald Trump on the “successful operation.” The misinformation had been first picked up by Azeri news sites and then by the Iranian ones, risking serious consequences for Armenian – Iranian relations.

“This is the case, when the false “freedom of speech” has endangered our national security,” Nikol Pashinian stated in a Facebook post. “The authors of the news and their motives must be investigated,” Armenian PM wrote.

Hours after Pashinian’s post, the National Security Service issued a statement, claiming it had carried out “investigative – operative activities” and as a result identified and detained the Facebook user.

Commenting on OWASP Armenia Facebook groups, cyber-security expert Samvel Martirosyan finds it unlikely that the NSS would have the technical capabilities to identify the user with technical means. He also excludes the possibility that Facebook would have provided data on the user for such a posting and in such a short period of time.

Meanwhile, Armenia’s top lawyer specialized on technological issues — David Sandukhchyan, has raised serious concerns about the legal aspects of the detention and claimed that the Facebook posting does not constitute a crime according to Armenian legislation and mocked both Pashinian and the the NSS for claiming that “the post by some fake user can endanger national security.”

Referring to the video published by the NSS (see below this post), which neither publishes the real name of the Facebook user, nor the article of criminal code, according to which the detention has taken place, Sandukhchyan has also written “What if there was no fake at all and it was done only to scare people, who post undesirable content on Facebook?

PS: I should just add that this is a very troubling development, since this is the second case, when a Facebook user has been detained after Pashinian directly instructed the National Security Services to take action.

Categories
Legal Society

Armenian Traffic Police have wearable cameras and they're not afraid to use them

Armenian Traffic Police have been required to wear special surveillance cameras since June 2016. The cameras were introduced as part of the Government’s anti-corruption efforts [More info about cameras in this video]. A controversial incident on September 4th, which has caused a bit of uproar around the Armenian segment of the internet, has raised many questions about these cameras.

Categories
Legal Politics Society

Cardboard-Tank Activist Faces Jail Term for Running into National Security Service's Gate

Activist Artak Gevogryan, a member of the “Counterstrike” art-group, faces 2 years in jail on hooliganism charges for running into the metal gate of Armenia’s National Security Service with his cardboard tank.

Categories
Armenia Legal Politics Society

Remember. March 1 Will Never Be The First Day of Spring Again

Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013Armenia -- Tribute to victims of March 1 violence in Yerevan, 01Mar2013
PS:  Where are the authorities, who are directly responsible for the 10 deaths of March 1? Why don’t they show up and pay tribute?

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Categories
Armenia Education Legal Society

Village Mayor Accused of Raping 14 Year-Old Student


Students at a school in Hartashen village of Syunik region claim, that the village mayor has raped a 14-year old student of the the school.
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Categories
Armenia Legal Region Society

Guest Post: Addressing the Denial

Most news reports and commentary on the adoption by the French Senate of the Bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian genocide in Turkey in 1915 seem to miss the main aim the French legislators intended for it to achieve. I will argue in this Article that France’s decision should be seen as a giant step forward in the protection human rights, international law and order, historical and scientific integrity.

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Categories
Armenia Legal Society Tech

The Devil's Advocate

Lawyer Artur Grigoryan

An Armenian lawyer has filed a suit against “Hraparak” daily newspaper for not moderating readers’ comments on the paper’s online version, which supposedly damage the lawyer’s reputation and which he c onsiders offensive.

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Categories
Legal Politics

"7 trial" pulled apart, "political" context stripped off

The controversial trial of ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosian’s 7 prominent supporters de-facto ended today – separated into isolated cases by the ruling of judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan. The charge for “usurpation of state authority by force” was dropped, making the now separate cases against the oppositionists more “politically neutral”. RFE/RL carries the news:

The new twist in the so-called “case of the seven” resulted from the newly enacted amendments to Articles 225 and 300 of the Armenian Criminal Code used against the prominent supporters of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. The articles deal with provocation of street violence and “usurpation of state authority by force” respectively.

The judge ruled, that the seven oppositionists should stand separate trials for “provoking mass disorders and violence”, while the charge of “usurpation of state authority”, which was the main charge politicizing the case, was dropped. 
While this means, that the trials will continue beyond the deadline of PACE April session, it also means, that the opposition will have fewer arguments in claiming that the seven oppositionists are “political prisoners” at the PACE’s upcoming session.
It will also disperse the “high profile” cloud from the case, making it harder for the society to follow.
All of this looks like a thoroghly considered plan for putting the oppositionists in jail for good (BtW: Shant Harutyunyan’s case had been suspended earlier in March while he undergoes psychiatric examination).
It also signalls the decisive stance of the authorities to punish political dissidence as the country heads into Yerevan’s municipal elections.

Categories
Legal

Jhangiryan, former deputy prosecutor-general sentenced to 3 years

“In a highly controversial but anticipated ruling, a Yerevan court on Monday sentenced Gagik Jahangirian, a former deputy prosecutor-general linked to the Armenian opposition, to three years in prison for allegedly resisting police during his arrest last year,” RFE/RL reports.
Watching Jhangiryan demanding justice, I could not help, but smile at the irony of the situation. Jhangiryan, formerly also Armenia’s chief military prosecutor, knows very well what the Armenian law-enforcement and judicial systems are capable of.

Categories
Armenia Legal

A1plus wins in European Court. Meltex Ltd and Mesrop Movsesyan v. Armenia

I just heard the best news for the Freedom of Speech in Armenia in the course of the past 7 years! A1plus has won the case against the RA Government in the European Court of Human Rights. Check out the text of the official judgment. Congratulations – A1plus.
The Armenian authorities will have to pay EUR 30,000 to A1plus – which is of course very little, but what is more important, is the precedent. Admittedly, the Armenian government has been loosing case after case in the European Court of Human Rights in the recent months. Here’s more from A1plus:
http://a1plus.am/en/?page=issue&iid=61705
http://a1plus.am/en/?page=issue&iid=61709

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