The Armenian prosecutor general summoned Babadzhanian, editor-in-chief of the opposition daily Zhamanak Yerevan, purportedly to question him as a witness in a criminal case. Instead, authorities charged Babadzhanian with forging documents to evade military service in 2002 and took him into custody, according to international press reports.
At his trial, Babadzhanian pleaded guilty to draft evasion but said the charge was in retaliation for the paper’s critical reporting. Days before his arrest, Zhamanak Yerevan published an article questioning the independence of the prosecutor general’s office, according to the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting.
On September 8, 2006, a district court in Armenia ‘s capital, Yerevan, sentenced Babadzhanian to four years in prison on charges of forgery and draft evasion, according to the Armenian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. An appeals court later reduced the penalty by six months.
A government committee that oversees requests for early release has twice rejected Babadzhanian’s appeals, according to local press reports.