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Tatevik Shaljyan

Hraparak.am Must Prove that Comments Were “Real”

The slander trial pitting attorney Artur Grigoryan against the hraparak.am news website continued today at the Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Court in Yerevan.

Readers will recall that Grigoryan took offense at several comments left under an August 10, 2011 article (Are citizens victims of unscrupulous attorneys?) that appeared on the site.

Grigoryan claims that several of the comments were defamatory in nature and insulting. He filed a suit seeking 2 million AMD in compensation for each of the slanderous comments and 1 million for those that were insulting – totally 18 million in all.

Taking a cue from a November 15, 2011 RA Constitutional Court ruling calling on plaintiffs to take the financial status of defendants in question before specifying sought after damages, Grigoryan asked that the court seize a monthly sum of 225,000 AMD from the news website until the 18 million was totally paid off.

Defense attorney Gevorg Gevorgyan argued that his client could not be charged with defamation for the comments left by readers.

The court declared that the plaintiff would have to substantiate the amount of compensatory damages sought and prove that the news website was in fact obliged, or had the right, to restrict the comments left by individual readers.

The defendant was ordered to prove that the questionable comments were in fact from real people and not contrived.

The next trial date was set for February 24.

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