Now that we have a very ‘sophisticated’ police chief in Armenia, if you get detained for your professional or social, political activities, you may be framed in a very ‘sophisticated’ way, indeed. No more drugs into your pocket (too cheap!), the whole scenario - for example, a “traffic accident” - may be directed to set you up. In this case, Hayk Gevorgyan - well known journalist of best selling pro-opposition daily Haykakan Zhamanak.
Sensing an outrage by journalistic, online, civil society and human rights circles, police.am issued a video to ‘defend’ their stance, including an interview with the alleged victim of the accident. A video that is so pathetic - with that ‘killing’ voice-over so in style of Soviet-like propaganda - that even if there is truth in police report, no one would believe them.
This brief humorous YouTube video uploaded after the detention of Hayk Gevorgyan shows just how believable many would consider police actions and ‘justifications’. Video was prepared by... “VovTV” (short of the name of police chief - Vladimir Gasparyan - “Vova”) and uploaded by... “ZimbabweFish”.
Ironically, only a week or so ago, as per Press Freedom Index 2011/12 released by Reporters Without Borders, Armenia significantly improved its rankings and considered the best in the South Caucasus and broader region.
Even if for a moment, just for a moment, we believe there could be ground in charges forwarded towards journalist, why on earth he has to be arrested awaiting trial?
True, it seems counter-intuitive and not in authorities’ interest to detain such a well known figure taking into account the very expected local and international reaction that would follow, as well as upcoming opposition rallies and parliamentary elections. So was this done, as many speculate, out of personal “vendetta” by police chief? In particular, as a consequence of the following articles published in Haykakan Zhamanak daily:
Եւ Աստված ասաց` Վովա
ԵԹԵ ԱՊՊԱ, ԱՊԱ ՊԱՊԱ
Մի կպիր, որ չկպցնես
In a press conference today, editor of Haykakan Zhamanak, prominent opposition figure Nikol Pashinyan said: "If you think that freedom of Hayk Gevorgyan is only a matter for Haykakan Zhamanak then your freedom is a matter for Haykakan Zhamanak too" ["Եթե դուք գտնում եք որ Հայկ Գևորգյանի ազատությունը միայն ՀԺ-ի հարցն ա, ուրեմն ձեր ազատությունը նույնպես ՀԺ-ի հարցն ա"]