The California Courier Online, December 28, 2023

The California
Courier Online, December 28, 2023


1-         Court
Convicts Pashinyan Critic

            After His

            By Harut

            Publisher, California Courier


2-         Armenia
Artsakh Fund Delivers $25 Million

Life-Saving Medicines to Armenia

3-         Two Arrested
for Horrific murder of 4-year-old Armenian boy in California


4-         Armenian
Government Critic Convicted Posthumously




1-         Court
Convicts Pashinyan Critic

            After His

            By Harut

            Publisher, California Courier



This week’s commentary is a lesson for all those who naively
believe what they hear or read and then pass on unsubstantiated stories to
others. By doing so, they are actually helping to spread fake news. When
someone gives you a piece of ‘news’, you should always ask, ‘what is your
source’? When the answer is: ‘I heard it from someone else,’ immediately
dismiss what was said to you. It is critical to verify what you are told in
order not to disseminate baseless rumors to others.

Those of us who are in the news business have a bigger
responsibility to be vigilant because if we do not double-check what is being
reported to us, then we become guilty of spreading fake news to thousands of
readers or viewers.

Here is an example of a news item we just heard about. A
57-year-old entertainment producer, Armen Grigoryan, who had died in Armenia, was found guilty by a judge in Armenia last
week, a year and five months after his death. Not having heard that a dead man
can be tried and convicted, I wondered whether such a thing really happened.

Since I have had long years of experience hearing all sorts
of baseless reports, I immediately contacted the late defendant’s lawyer in
Armenia, Ruben Melikian, who was kind enough to explain the circumstances of
this strange story.

Armen Grigoryan, during a street protest against the
authorities in Armenia
in May 2022, shortly before the parliamentary elections, told a reporter that
he stood by his earlier statement of April 2021 that half of Prime Minister
Nikol Pashinyan’s supporters in certain parts of the country have Turkish
blood. Naturally, this was a disparaging remark, but if a country is truly
democratic, citizens have the right to use unpleasant, even offensive words.
Nevertheless, Grigoryan had not said anything threatening, which would have
been against the law.

In May 2022, Grigoryan, a vocal critic of the regime, was
arrested and jailed for the statement he had made a year before his arrest. He
was charged with “inciting ethnic hostility.” Those accused of such a charge in
the past, had made offensive or degrading comments about other ethnic groups
living in Armenia.
However, no Armenian had been charged before with incitement after making such
remarks about fellow Armenians. For example, Pashinyan supporters, who had made
insulting comments against Artsakh Armenian refugees, have not been charged
with incitement.

On July 15, 2022, two months after his arrest, Grigoryan was
brought to court from jail to stand trial. Regrettably, in the midst of the
trial, he collapsed and died in the courtroom from a brain aneurism or stroke.

In Armenia,
when a defendant dies, his trial is discontinued. However, in this case,
according to Armenian law, the defendant’s family has the right to ask that the
trial be continued until a verdict is reached. Grigoryan’s lawyer explained
that his family wanted to see that he is exonerated, even though, due to the
presumption of innocence (innocent until proven guilty), he was merely charged,
but not convicted prior to his death. The family insisted that Grigoryan’s name
be cleared since they believe that he should have never been arrested, charged
and jailed.

The attorney told me that during the trial, after
Gregorian’s death, a government witness testified in court that he had not
written the testimony that was submitted in his name to the court. This witness
said that a government investigator had written the testimony and had told him
to sign it.

Also, a government expert, who testified in court, admitted
that Grigoryan’s words could not be considered an incitement to inter-ethnic
hostility, which means targeting members of another ethnic group. Grigoryan had
only used offensive words about his fellow Armenians, members of his own ethnic

Nevertheless, last week, a year and five months after Grigoryan’s
death, the judge declared him guilty of the charge filed against him. His
lawyer told me that after the verdict is received in writing, the family has
one month to file an appeal, which they intend to do. If they lose in the court
of appeal, they will then appeal to the Court of Cassation which is a Court
that hears appeals against decisions of courts of appeal. If they fail there
too, they will then go to the European Court of Human Rights.

Having investigated the circumstances of a court in Armenia holding
a trial and finding a dead man guilty, I wanted to know if such trials had also
taken place in other countries. Surprisingly, I found several cases in ancient
and recent history when other countries held posthumous trials of defendants
and found them guilty after their death.


2-         Armenia Artsakh Fund Delivers $25

Life-Saving Medicines to Armenia


GLENDALE—On December 17,
2023, the Armenia Artsakh Fund (AAF) delivered to Armenia a very special donation of
much needed medicines valued at $25 million.

The donation consists of two types of valuable life-saving
medicines:  Bevacizumab-Awwb (Mvasi) is
for treatment of colorectal cancer; Glatiramer Acetate is an injection for
patients who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis.

“This shipment was donated by Direct Relief, a longtime
partner of AAF and supporter of Armenia.
We highly appreciate the donation and our partnership with Direct Relief,”
stated Harut Sassounian, President of AAF. 

In the past 34 years, including the shipments under its
predecessor, the United Armenian Fund, the AAF delivered to Armenia and
Artsakh a grand total of over $1 billion worth of humanitarian aid, mostly
medicines, on board 158 airlifts and 2,576 sea containers. “AAF is proud of
this unique achievement,” said Sassounian.

For more information, call the AAF office: (818) 241-8900;


3-         Two Arrested for Horrific
murder of 4-year-old Armenian boy in California


An unspeakable tragedy occurred Friday, December 15, in the
city of Lancaster, a city in north Los Angeles County. A 4-year-old boy, Gore Adamian,
was shot and killed in front of his parents, writes Nation World News.

According to a statement from the Los Angeles County
Sheriff’s Department, at around 7:30 p.m., the couple were out grocery shopping
with their four-year-old son. They were driving along Sierra Highway with Gore in the back
seat, when another driver cut them off.

As the family slowed down, the other driver began shooting
at the Adamian family, and Gore took a number of bullets.

When shots rang out, people from nearby businesses rushed to
the Armenian family’s aid.

News reports at the time said that while none of the bullets
struck his heart, little Gore bled out before first responders could save him
because his heart continued to beat.

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering the
child: 29-year-old Byron Burkhart and 27-year-old Alexandria Gentile.

Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris called what happened “the worst
form of domestic terrorism.”

“You can’t come into cities and shoot four-year-old children
… I’m not a big supporter of the death penalty. But some crimes require a
little bit more than what they give people because the situation is getting
worse,” the mayor said.

Members of Gore’s family spoke to news outlets the day of
his death and said that his mother was going in and out of consciousness, and
that his father nearly suffered a heart attack from the devastation of the
little boy’s death. The family had only been in the United
States the last several years and had moved from Glendale to Lancaster
where it would be more peaceful and safer to raise young Gore.



4-         Armenian
Government Critic Convicted Posthumously


(RFE/RL Armenian Service)—A vocal critic of Armenia’s
government who died during his trial last year was posthumously found guilty of
hate speech on Monday, December 18. Armen Grigorian, a well-known entertainment
producer, was arrested and indicted in May 2022 in connection with a 2021 video
in which he made disparaging comments about residents of two Armenian regions
sympathetic to the government. The National Security Service accused him of
offending their “national dignity.”

Grigorian, who for years harshly criticized Prime Minister
Nikol Pashinyan, rejected the accusations as politically motivated. Opposition
figures and other government critics also denounced the criminal proceedings
launched against him.

Grigorian, 56, collapsed in the courtroom in July 2022 as
his lawyer petitioned the presiding judge to release him from custody. He was
pronounced dead moments later.

The then human rights ombudswoman, Kristine Grigorian (no
relation to Armen), expressed outrage at the antigovernment activist’s death, saying
that he clearly did not receive adequate medical care in prison. None of the
judges or law-enforcement officials responsible for his detention were fired or
subjected to disciplinary action afterwards.

“Defendant Armen Grigorian’s guilt in committing this act
has been proven,” Mnatsakan Martirosian, a controversial judge presiding over
his trial, said in his verdict in the case. The late defendant’s lawyer, Ruben
Melikian, said he will “definitely” appeal the guilty verdict.

No government loyalists in Armenia are known to have been
prosecuted on such charges to date. Several members of the ruling Civil
Contract avoided prosecution this fall after verbally attacking ethnic Armenian
refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh taking part in anti-government rallies in Yerevan. One of them, a
village mayor, said such refugees must be stripped of government aid while
another urged the Armenian authorities to deport them from the country.


California Courier Online provides readers of the Armenian News News Service with a
few of the articles in this week's issue of The California Courier. Letters to
the editor are encouraged through our e-mail address, .
Letters are published with the author’s name and location; authors are required
to disclose their identity to the editorial staff (name, address, and/or
telephone numbers for verification purposes).
California Courier subscribers can change or modify mailing addresses by
emailing .