ARMENIA: Editor attacked outside home

September 6, 2006
Posted: October 13, 2006

Ovannes Galagzhyan, Iravunk

Two unidentified men attacked Galagzhyan, editor-in-chief of Armenia’s top-selling opposition weekly Iravunk, in the courtyard of his apartment building on Komitas Street in the capital city of Yerevan. The two men, both with shaved heads, strong builds, and about 40 years of age, threw the editor to the ground as the journalist was leaving and began kicking him, aiming for his head, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

The men ran when neighbors approached the scene. Galagzhyan immediately reported the incident to the police and went to the hospital. He was released shortly afterwards, sources told CPJ.

According to local press reports, Galagzhyan received a phone call from an unknown man who threatened to break his legs, the night before the attack.

Galagzhyan is confident that the assault was related to his reporting, which criticizes many in the government as well as powerful businessmen. “We have trodden on many toes and the pool of suspects is very large,” Galagzhyan told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Local journalists believe a recent article, “What makes the super minister nervous,” which heavily criticized Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian may have provoked the assault, A1Plus Online News reported.

Edik Baghdasaryan, head of the Association of Investigative Journalists of Armenia, told CPJ that the recent wave of violent attacks against journalists reflects the rise in crime in Armenia.

Police are investigating the attack, but charges against those responsible for the threat and attack have not yet been filed.