Acting Armenian Prime Minister forced to publicly apologize to Khachatryan family
The Civil Appeal Court of the Republic of Armenia (RA) rejected the appeal presented by the representative of the acting Prime Minister of the RA, Nikol Pashinyan. The Khachatryan family advocacy group noted this in a statement, which continues as follows:
The court ruling in the “Khachatryans v Nikol Pashinyan” (informal name) case promulgated the day before established the targeting and existence of insults and defamation mediated by RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the lack of factual grounds for making statements, not being conditioned by public interest. It should be mentioned that by its decision of 25.01.2021, the Yerevan court forced the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to issue a public apology to the former Minister of Finance Gagik Khachatryan and his sons Gurgen Khachatryan and Artyom Khachatryan, for an insulting expression and publicly refute the defamation information. By its decision of 07.06.2021, the Court of Appeal established (direct quote): “By his publicized speech (by the publication by the spokesperson of the Prime Minister of the RA), the Prime Minister of the RA Nikol Pashinyan linked the names of Gagik Khachatryan, Gurgen Khachatryan and Artyom Khachatryan to the term “mafia-like” system, however, it was not based on any factual basis. In particular, the Khachatryans had no connection with a criminal case directly related to the formation or management of a criminal organization or participation in a criminal organization prescribed by the Criminal Code of the RA. And according to the Court of Appeal, the criminalization of the action prescribed by Article 179 (3) (1) of the RA Penal Code in Gagik Khachatryan is not a sufficient basis for making public statements that he and his sons run a corrupt and mafia system. . In addition, the documents of the civil file lack information or factual data on a certain number of episodes cited by the publication, in particular on any procedure concerning the acquisition of a corrupt shareholding in the company Ucom ”. The Court of Appeal also established (direct quotation) that: “The Court of Appeal establishes that Gagik Khachatryan, Gurgen Khachatryan and Artyom Khachatryan were not connected with such a criminal case which would have objectively provided a ground to argue that ‘ “they led a similar mafia- system in the Republic of Armenia, accumulated illegal wealth of several hundred million dollars while running this system.” Moreover, the statement was made against the background of such social realities and policies, while there was a wide public debate about the term mentioned and the people associated with it and statements with such content could have been aimed directly at creating a negative perception of the people mentioned.
The Court concluded that unverified media publications could not have served as a basis for statements of such content to be made at the level of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, also taking into account the fact that having more extensive and having many resources, the latter could have verified all information and avoided disinformation. Thus, the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal presented by the representative of the Prime Minister of the RA, Nikol Pashinyan. Recall that in April 2020 a corporate sabotage began in Ucom telecommunications and the chairman of the board of directors of Ucom Gurgen Khachatryan announced that senior officials in the country have directly or indirectly asked him to alienate Ucom for an unprofitable offer accompanied by public pressure. At this point, the obvious pressure from RA officials was accompanied, among other things, by the publication of the RA Prime Minister’s spokesperson which was recognized in 2021 by the Court as defamation in the honor, in the dignity, commercial reputation, dissemination of false information.