Lernapat Mayor Sues Hetq Reporter for Slander
Vano Yeghiazaryan, Mayor of Lernapat in Lori Marz has sued Hetq reporter Adrineh Torosyan for slander.
Mayor Yeghiazaryan is demanding that Hetq issue a public retraction of the “slanderous and defamatory” information, publish an apology and 1 million AMD in compensation, including legal fees.
Mayor Yeghiazaryan is suing over an August 2011 Hetq article by Adrineh Torosyan covering a judicial dispute between the mayor and local resident Gevorg Melkonyan.
The dispute resulted from an article in the newspaper Zhamanak entitled “Remove This Turk from Our Midst” in which a number of Lernapat residents, including Gevorg Melkonyan, expressed their displeasure regarding the mayor’s work performance. Residents also called the mayor a few choice names.
In turn, Mayor Yeghiazaryan sued two residents, Kamsar Tamaryan and Gevorg Melkonyan, for slander and personal defamation.
The mayor demanded 3 million AMD in compensatory damages and that the men publicly retract their statement.
The Lori Regional Court sustained the charges against Tamaryan but dropped the damages to be paid to 300,000 AMD for personal defamation, 100,000 for slander and 16,000 in legal fees compensation.
The Court, on two separate occasions, refused to hear the mayor’s suit against Melkonyan, prompting Yeghiazaryan to drop the compensation damages demand when he reapplied a third time. He is still seeking compensation for his legal fees.
Mayor Yeghiazaryan has taken issue with the following passage in Hetq reporter Torosyan’s article - “Mayor V. Yeghiazaryan was demanding 1 million for defamation and 2 million for slander from a resident in his village, as well as legal fees. Judge Hovnanyan sustained a small portion of the mayor’s financial demand.”
Yeghiazaryan says the passage is slanderous and disparaging since he never made a property demand of Melkonyan.
The first preliminary trial date has been scheduled for November 14.