ARGISHTI KIVIRYAN – "EVEN CRIMES UNCOVERED IN ARMENIA REMAIN COVERED"
2010/05/10 | 15:14
Is there a Javakhk connection to the attempted murder?
Reporter and lawyer Argishti Kiviryan says that even crimes that have
been uncovered in Armenia remain uncovered; referring to the crime
he was subject to.
Mr. Kiviryan, director of the "Armenia Today" and "Bagin.info" news
websites was the subject of an attempted murder on April 30, 2009. His
wife heard on the attackers say, "It’s all the same, we will kill you".
The attackers left numerous clues at the site – a wooden club, used to
hit Kiviryan in the head, and fired bullet casings. Police inspecting
the crime scene never discovered the bullet shells.
Furthermore, one of the police officials tried to convince Kiviryan
family members that they had been mistaken, that no shots had been
fired. Kicking their door with his shoe, the officer suggested that
this was the sound they had heard the night of the attack.
Just a half hour after the attack, photo-journalist Gagik Shamshyan
arrived on the scene before the police. In addition to taking photos
of the bloodied club, he took shots of the bullet casings.
Later, Kiviryan also claimed that shots had been fired and that he
was lucky enough to wrest the gun away at the last moment.
At first, criminal charges of "premeditated light bodily damage"
were initiated, but according to the law, such charges can only be
brought if the injured party presses such charges. Kiviryan never did.
Ruben Sahakyan, President of the Chamber of Advocates said, "How is
it that a member of the professional services couldn’t understand
that a person’s head is a vital organ made of skin and containing
bones and a brain." He added that attempted murder should have been
the charge brought.
The examination of the case was transferred to the National Security
Service (NSS). A few days later, the charge was changed to "attempted
murder by a group".
Law enforcement still hasn’t explained how the bullet casings
disappeared. "We came across no casings. If someone picked them up
they should return them," declared Hovhannes Tamamyan, Chief of the
Police Crime Investigations Unit.
Gagik Shamshyan was also questioned and he expressed concerns regarding
the unprofessional manner with which the police investigated the
crime scene. He noted that one of the officers, hands in his pocket,
had kicked the bloody club with his foot.
Different theories regarding the probable cause of the attack
immediately began to circulate. Some groups even claimed that it
couldn’t be ruled out that the "puppet authorities in Javakhk" were
behind it given Kiviryan’s position of the Javakhk issue.
In July, the court executed a detention order against two individuals –
Vladik Serobyan and Gurgen Kilikyan.
This year, the pre-trial investigative unit made several requests to
the court asking that their detention be prolonged. Soon afterwards,
the petition was rescinded at the two individuals were releases on
"This case, in essence, was the first time in Armenia’s history when
individuals involved in an attempted murder had been arrested. We had
hopes that at least in this case the perpetrators would be punished,
as a lesson to all, and that it would show that assaults against
reporters wouldn’t go unpunished. But we saw that in just a few months
the perpetrators walk free. How did this happen? We cannot understand
this and find this approach towards reporters and the media to be
unacceptable," declared Armineh Ohanyan, Chief Editor of the daily
The NSS hasn’t explained why it rescinded its petition to hold Serobyan
and Kilikyan. NSS Press spokesman Artzvin Baghramyan says it has to
do with pre-trial confidentiality.
Argishti Kiviryan says that at face to face session, he recognized
one of the two men as one of those who assaulted him during another
incident. Kiviryan says that ten days before the April 30th attack,
he was also assaulted.
"When I left the office to go home I opened the door and saw three
individuals dressed in sport attire with truncheons. It was just by
accident that I hadn’t closed the outer door to the office behind me.
When I saw them approaching me I went back inside and shut the door,"
recounted A. Kiviryan.
According to verified information obtained by Kiviryan, one or two
days prior to the two incidents, these individuals travelled to
Akhalkalak and met with Samvel Petrosyan.
Ever since his appointment as Akhalkalak Police Chief, Samvel Petrosyan
has for years been engaged in demolishing all Armenian structures in
Akhalkalak. It has been constantly noted in the Armenian press that
the Georgian authorities are carrying out various searches in Javakhk,
and this is true. But these searches and harassment are being conducted
by this individual."
He pointed out that it was due to the work of the Police Chief that
"United Javakhk" activist Vahagn Chakhalyan is today behind bars and
that Gurgen Shirinyan is on the run and that many young people have
been forced to flee Javakhk.
When we interviewed Petrosyan he responded, Threats? No. I called him
a ‘con artist’. He really doesn’t know what he’s writing about. It’s
all made-up stuff. There were never any threats. Samvel Petrosyan,
I mean myself, isn’t the sort of person to stoop to the same low
level as someone who writes lies. I don’t lower myself to that and
make threats. I really never pay much attention to all that. I don’t
find what he writes of any interests. Who cares if four people read
what he writes and get a bad impression of me. The other 96, who
recognize me, know the sort of person I am."
Petrosyan did verify that Vladik Serobyan, one of those arrested,
was a relative.
"Yes, he is a relation. But I am not stupid enough to tell him to
go assault someone or attempt murder, or some such thing. He’s not a
close relative, but we are related," stated Petrosyan, adding that,
given the arrested is a relative; he might have seen him a few days
before the incident.
Petrosyan also says that while he doesn’t know Kiviryan personally,
it is just possible they he met with him as well before the attack
"But, I can’t tell you that. Every day I meet with 1,000 people,
1,000. If one of them then goes and meets with another, it doesn’t
mean that I organized it," Petrosyan stated, adding, "I know with 100%
certainty that the day will come when the organizers of the attempted
murder will be exposed. When that time comes, let Argishti Kiviryan
publicly write that he was wrong and apologize to Samvel Petrosyan.
Petrosyan also denied rumors that the two suspects were released
because of his ties to certain circles in Armenia.
According to our information Chief Petrosyan has close links with
Hovhannes Tamamyan, Chief of the Police Crime Investigations Unit.
Mr. Kiviryan believes that a after some time passes the criminal case
will "be dropped and the file will wind up in some office drawer",
despite the fact that the presidential spokesperson has declared that
the president is closely monitoring the case.
"If the case is being closely monitored, would they go and release
these two individuals," asks Kiviryan, adding, "Until the time when
the state prosecutor doesn’t take the case file under his arm and
run up Baghramyan Avenue and once there, come to some agreement,
then no other verdict can be expected."
Days after the attack on Kiviryan, Mesrop Harutyunyan, a specialist
with the Committee for the Dense of Free Speech, declared that it
is clear from the facts that we can conclude that President Sargsyan
has directed that assaults against reporters be exposed in order that
they not directly be exposed.