Friday, 21 September

Hetq Reporter Sues MP for Verbal Abuse



Ruben Hayrapetyan’s Lawyer Rejects the Evidence

The lawyer of MP Ruben Hayrapetyan, being sued by a Hetq reporter for verbal abuse, does not accept the evidence presented by the prosecution in court.

Gevorg Gevorgyan, attorney for Hayrapetyan, also argues that the suit filed by Hetq reporter Grisha Balasanyan, seeking 1 million AMD in compensatory damages, should also be thrown out.

Mr. Balasanyan asserts that Hayrapetyan verbally abused him during a telephone conversation that took place on February 2. The reporter says that the MP called him “stupid” and then followed up with a barrage of sexual expletives.

In addition to monetary damages, Balasanyan is seeking a formal apology from Hayrapetyan and to be reimbursed for all legal fees.

At the recent preliminary court hearing, lawyers for MP Hayrapetyan stated that they would present their arguments later on, during regular session.

Vahe Grigoryan, who represents reporter Balasanyan, argued that his client’s suit is based on Article 3, Part 1, of the RA Constitution, “The human being, his/her dignity and the fundamental human rights and freedoms are an ultimate value”, Article 23, “Everyone shall have the right to respect for his private and family life”, and various principles of the UN General Declaration of Human Rights.

Mr. Grigoryan presented the court with a copy of the phone conversation that took place between the reporter and MP Hayrapetyan. The lawyer also submitted a copy of the decision by the Special Investigative Service not to file criminal charges against Hayrapetyan.

When Grigoryan tried to get a direct answer from the defense as to whether they accepted the evidence brought before the court as valid, they evaded the issue, saying only that they would present their side of the case later on.

When the Judge Aida Davtyan ordered the defense to answer, lawyer Gevorgyan stated that they did not accept the evidence as presented

Judge Davtyan then attempted to place the burden of proof regarding “public defamation” on the prosecution. However, attorney Grigoryan objected, arguing that the prosecution wasn’t able to do this given that the Hetq reporter had called MP Hayrapetyan on his cell phone and had no idea where the MP was at the time. 

Attorney Vahe Grigoryan told Hetq that if an individual’s dignity and self-esteem are protected under the   RA Constitution and that the government assumes such a responsibility, then the prosecution is asserting that Balasanyan’s constitutional rights have been violated.

Even though it is the RA Civil Code that sets out conditions and procedures for personal insult and defamation compensation, Mr. Grigoryan says that that the Code lacks the mechanisms to defend against public insult cases and that’s why they have built their case on Article 23 of the RA Constitution.

He also says that compensation calculations should be based on European Court legal precedence and not on Article 1087.1 of the RA Civil Code.

Mr. Grigoryan believes that Article 1087.1 is actually intended to be used as a legal tool against the media.

“In fact, it was never intended to defend an individual’s dignity or self-esteem. It is intended to defend individual dignity from being degraded by the mass media. In other words, it’s all about public insult,” says Grigoryan.

At the next court session on April 27, the prosecution will present documentation substantiating its court fee claims.

 

 


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