Prominent independent journalist injured in grenade attack

New York, October 24, 2002—Armenian free-lance journalist Mark Grigorian suffered serious shrapnel wounds to the head and chest from a grenade thrown at him as he walked through the center of the country’s capital, Yerevan.

The grenade exploded at around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22, as Grigorian walked past the entrance of the Yerevan Choreography School. He was taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery to stop bleeding in his lungs, and is currently in stable condition.

Grigorian told Public Television of Armenia from his hospital bed that he saw “a young man running away” seconds after the grenade exploded. The journalist has been working on an article about an October 1999 attack on the Armenian Parliament that left eight high-level politicians, including the prime minister, dead, Agence France-Press reported.

Grigorian had recently interviewed several witnesses and politicians for the story, which he planned to publish on October 27, the third anniversary of the massacre, the U.S. government­funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

Since the Parliament shooting, several Armenian journalists have been harassed or attacked in retaliation for their coverage of the government’s investigation into the incident.

“We deplore this violent attack on our colleague Mark Grigorian,” said Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “We call on Armenian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The prosecutor general’s office in Yerevan announced that the Interior Ministry has opened an investigation into the incident, Agence France-Press reported.

Grigorian is also deputy director of the Yerevan-based Caucasus Media Institute, which conducts training courses for journalists in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.