The right to freedom of expression continued to be unduly restricted in Armenia. Amnesty International

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The Amnesty International Report 2021/22 highlights the human rights situation in 154 countries in 2021. It presents Amnesty International’s documented concerns and recommendations for governments and others. Regarding to Armenia, the Amnesty International criticized the Armenian authorities for the restrictions on freedom of expression.

“The right to freedom of expression continued to be unduly restricted. The government introduced several legislative amendments curtailing independent media and other critical voices. In March, the National Assembly increased
the maximum fine for insult and defamation to AMD 6 million (approximately US$12,000).

In August, another set of legislative amendments criminalized insulting public figures, making repeated insults punishable by up to three months’ imprisonment.

In September, police opened a criminal case under this new law against a Facebook user for insulting the prime minister in a comment under a photo featuring him.

The authorities continued the prosecution on trumped-up charges of human rights defender Sashik Sultanian in retaliation for his criticism of the treatment of the Yazidi ethnic minority in Armenia. An investigation into his alleged incitement of national hatred had been opened in October 2020, after he published an online interview on problems faced by the ethnic Yazidis. His trial started in August and was ongoing at the end of the year. If convicted, he could face three to six years in prison.
The Prosecutor General’s Office and state investigative bodies failed to effectively investigate attacks and threats against NGOs and media outlets, including looting of the offices of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Open Society Foundations, in the aftermath of the conflict in 2020″.