The investigation of the case of Tarayr Muradyan, who was recognized as the victim, ended today in the quarters of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of the Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction. The presiding judge Mnatsakan Martirosyan announced the two policemen Suren Torosyan and Areg Torosyan guilty of committing a crime under Article 164, Part 1 of the RA Criminal Code (obstructing journalist’s professional activities or forcing him/her to surrender disseminating information). As a punishment, the judge determined an amount equal to three hundred times the minimum wage to be paid.

It should be reminded that the incident took place on the morning of April 19, 2018, when Tirayr Muradyan went to the Republic Square and walked after the participants of the rally to carry out his professional activity. During that time, he fixed people who behaved obviously differently from the participants, with valid suspicion that these people were not participants of the rally but policemen in civilian clothes and provocateurs. And it was during this time when he was subjected to violence by these policemen.

Today, before the publication of the judicial act, Areg Torosyan’s advocate Ani Grigoryan delivered a defense speech.

“According to the testimony given by the victim Tirayr Muradyan during the trial, the defendants approached him unexpectedly and then pushed and hit him when he was standing in the corner of the building. The victim also said that his camera had been shut down at that moment. Even if we imagine that the incident happened just as the victim describes, then is the smoking and resting journalist at the corner of the building realizing his professional legal activity, and can hindering or even harming that person be viewed as a hindrance to professional journalistic activities?”

Then the attorney, quoting the Article 3 of the RA Law on Mass Media, reiterated, based on her own idea of the cited law, that it is clear from that the journalist’s rest period cannot be interpreted as a journalist’s professional activity and from his accusation it is not clear exactly what action of the journalistic activity the policemen have hindered?

Suren Torosyan’s lawyer Zorayr Harutyunyan joined his colleague’s speech. He mentioned that during his break time a journalist stops being an implementer of journalistic activities for an hour.

After this speech, Grisha Balasanyan, the legal representative of the victim Tirayr Muradyan, made a statement. He emphasized that the defense side did not comprehend the work of a journalist “when they say that the journalist was at a break and at that moment he cannot be considered a journalist. It is absurdity. Besides, the journalist is not only a person who draws or records: the journalist can stand there, hear, observe and afterwards go to his/her workplace and reproduce what he has seen and heard. Even if we accept that the victim was smoking, that is, he was in a break, that does not mean he was not at work. In addition, what would hindering mean? Since when he was attacked, Tirayir Muradyan was unable to carry out his professional work that day and was transferred to the hospital and immediately after the hospital he went home because his health did not allow him to work: and this hinderance,” Grisha Balasanyan responded.

Lilit Tadevosyan

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