Defense Minister Commenting Upon Beating Journalists

A1 Plus | 16:58:30 | 14-04-2004 | Politics |


“If someone possesses a camera or a dictaphone, it doesn’t mean that he or
she is a journalist. I think journalists especially during such measures
must produce something to prove them to be journalists”, Armenian Defense
Minister Serj Sargssyan said referring to the assaults to journalists during
the recent events.

“I don’t want to justify anyone. But if the law machinery demands to respect
law, everybody must obey it”, Minister explained.

“I consider it is bad to beat in general. It is not strange to me that
journalists react to beating more morbidly if it happens to any of them. It
is beyond my commission to call what happened on Baghramyan Avenue as
“beating”, and I think law enforcement bodies are to engage in it”, Minister

Peter Schieder asks Armenia Speaker for information on recent events

Peter Schieder asks Armenian parliamentary speaker for information on
recent events

Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Peter Schieder
today wrote to the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Arthur
Baghdasaryan, asking for detailed information on recent events in
Armenia , including the disruption of a regular session of parliament.

In his letter he expressed great concern over arrests of opposition
leaders and people attending opposition rallies, as well as over
alleged ill-treatment of the media.

” Armenia has recently made considerable efforts to honour the
obligations and commitments it undertook on joining the Council of
Europe. But you are also aware of our concerns about the remaining
shortcomings and the Assembly’s decision in January this year not to
end the current monitoring procedure until further progress has been
made in this respect,” Peter Schieder says in his letter.


1361 (2004): Honouring of obligations and commitments by Armenia

Peter Schieder demande des informations au Président du Parlement
arménien sur les récents événements

Peter Schieder, PrĂ©sident de l’AssemblĂ©e parlementaire du Conseil de
l’Europe, a Ă©crit aujourd’hui Ă  Arthur Bagdassarian, PrĂ©sident du
Parlement arménien, pour lui demander des précisions sur les
événements qui se sont produits récemment en Arménie, y compris
l’interruption d’une session ordinaire du Parlement.

Dans sa lettre, M. Schieder se déclare trÚs préoccupé par
l’arrestation de dirigeants de l’opposition et de participants Ă  des
rĂ©unions de l’opposition, ainsi que par le mauvais traitement qui
serait réservé aux médias.

« L’ArmĂ©nie a fait rĂ©cemment des efforts considĂ©rables pour respecter
les obligations et engagements contractés lors de son adhésion au
Conseil de l’Europe. Cependant, compte tenu des tĂąches qui attendent
encore l’ArmĂ©nie, l’AssemblĂ©e a dĂ©cidĂ©, en janvier de cette annĂ©e, de
ne pas mettre fin à la procédure de suivi tant que des progrÚs
supplĂ©mentaires n’auront pas Ă©tĂ© enregistrĂ©s », M. Schieder Ă©crit dans
sa lettre.


1361 (2004) : Respect des obligations et engagements de l’ArmĂ©nie

Those Beating Journalists Must Be Punished

A1 Plus | 17:39:32 | 14-04-2004 | Politics |


“Office of General Prosecutor must do its best to call the people who did
violence to account”, USA Ambassador to Armenia John Ordway said over
beating journalists.

“I am sure journalists have the right to obtain information. We all know
that it is sometimes dangerous to be a journalist. But Police must protect
journalists when some criminal elements commit violence towards them”,
Ambassador stated.

MP Alexan Karapetyan Talking About The Recent Events

A1 Plus | 18:29:42 | 14-04-2004 | Politics |


According to Opposition representatives, Robert Kocharyan and Serj Sargssyan
are responsible for the political situation in Armenia and Parliament
Speaker Arthur Baghdasaryan bears the responsibility for the events on April

“Parliament Speaker had hosted some criminals in Parliament while 4 MPs were
not allowed to enter there as delegates. The point is that 40 armed men went
out of Parliament building and blocked everybody”, MP Alexan Karapetyan

MP was shocked at a scene. “A mother of a perished war fighter was lying on
the ground with a broken leg. 4 butchers were beating her like they wanted
to kill her. It is unspeakable when someone beats a blooded woman. A few
young people resisted blows and managed to take the woman away. The tragedy
is that a mother had sent her son to liberate Karabakh”.

Meeting to Take Place in Freedom Square Tomorrow

A1 Plus | 20:15:46 | 14-04-2004 | Politics |


About 70 representatives of defense, youth, students’ and other social
organizations have made a statement over holding a meeting tomorrow at 6:00
PM. Despite the fact that policemen don’t allow even 10-15 people now to
gather in the Freedom Square, the organizers of tomorrow’ meeting are
resolute. They are ready to prove to the Authorities that the country
belongs to people, laws must be prior in Armenia and Authorities have no
right to forbid the rallies. {BR}

Representatives of the organizations are sure that it is time to act instead
of making useless statements criticizing behavior of Authorities.

“The events on April 13 night proved that our country has become a police
state and the independent Armenia was distinguished by political prisoners”,
Avetiq Ishkhanyan, Chair of Helsinki Committee of Armenia, announced during
discussions held by the social organizations.

He informed that together with some organizations they had established a
prompt response group on human rights protection, which will be occupied
with releasing people arrested during rallies. “Many of the relatives of
those arrested don’t even know where their kinsmen are. Many people with
bodily injuries don’t apply to hospitals for fear. Many people are just

Coming Soon…

A1 Plus | 14-04-2004


On April 15 at 6:00 PM the meeting of defense organizations over breach of
human rights in Armenia will take place in Freedom Square

On April 16 at 6:00 PM joint Opposition rally will take place in Freedom

Easter joy fills St. Vartan Cathedral

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Coordinator of Information Services
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 60; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

April 14, 2004


By Jake Goshert

This Easter season, the Armenian community gathered at New York City’s St.
Vartan Cathedral to praise Jesus Christ: His life and sacrifice, His victory
over death — and the promise He holds out to all mankind.

“Whatever Jesus told to His disciples or the crowds around Him, it was not
only His word, but also His actions,” said Archbishop Khajag Barsamian,
Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), as he
officiated of a Washing of the Feet service on Holy Thursday, April 8, 2004.
“We received an example of how to be humble, how to respect each other as
human beings, how to be helpful to each other as creations of our Heavenly

The Washing of the Feet service, a keystone of the Holy Week celebration,
re-enacts one of the last days of Christ’s earthly ministry. To teach
humility to His disciples, Christ washed the feet of each one.

Each year, the Primate washes the feet of 12 people, who stand in for the
Apostles. This year, the group was made up of deacons, sub-deacons,
acolytes, and altar servers ordained by Archbishop Barsamian.

“With love and devotion they serve on the altar,” the Primate said. “They
are wonderful examples of how one can serve the church, and through the
church, serve the community.”

Sub-deacon Justin Ajamian has been serving his parish, the St. Leon Church
of Fair Lawn, NJ, for five years. He is motivated not just by his faith,
but also by his commitment to the Armenian heritage. Serving the church, he
acknowledges, does mean you become a role model for others.

“When younger acolytes and kids see you walk by in your shabig, they look up
to you,” Ajamian said. “I don’t like the attention, but you do what the
Lord calls you to do.”

The altar servers agree that it is important for them to serve as role
models for younger children.

“They’re bombarded with all types of messages from TV, school, and friends,”
said Deacon Chris Kesici of the St. Stepanos Church of Elberon, NJ. “At
church they see something different: people who through prayer, worship, and
service express their love for God.”

Along with Ajamian and Kesici, other participants in the Washing of the Feet
service were: Dn. Anushavan Margaryan, Dn. Levon Kirakosyan, Dn. Manouel
Rakoubian, Dn. Nurhan Ezik, Dn. Levon Altiparmakian, and Sub-deacon Ardavazd
Arsenian (all from St. Vartan Cathedral); Dn. Sebuh Oscherician, Dn. Hrach
Kasaryan, and sub-deacon Jonathan Najarian (St. Leon Church); and Sub-deacon
Andrew Martaian (St. Thomas Church of Livingston, NJ).


St. Vartan Cathedral was alive with celebration throughout Holy Week and on
Easter, the holiest week in the Armenian Church calendar.

On Palm Sunday, April 4, 2004, Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean of the cathedral,
celebrated a Divine Liturgy and a Turun-Patzek, or “Door-Opening”, Service.
Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

On Holy Friday, April 9, the cathedral hosted a noontime service and an
evening service, the Order of the Entombment of the Lord, or Taghoom
Service. The Divine Liturgy on Great and Holy Saturday, April 10, was
celebrated by Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian, former Primate of England, with
music provided by the St. Vartan Cathedral Youth Choir, under the direction
of Maro Partamian.

The St. Vartan Cathedral Youth Choir is made up of students from the
Diocesan Khrimian Lyceum, and Diocesan Armenian Saturday schools of New York
and New Jersey. Students of the Diocesan Khrimian Lyceum also read from the
Scriptures on Holy Saturday’s services.

More than 1,500 faithful filled St. Vartan Cathedral for Easter services,
celebrated by Archbishop Barsamian and sung by the St. Vartan Cathedral
Choir under the direction of Maestro Khoren Mekanejian, with Florence
Avakian on the organ. The traditional Antasdan ceremony, or “Blessing of
the Fields,” followed on the cathedral plaza.

The overflow crowd on the plaza also took part in the “Releasing of Doves”
ceremony, during which young people, the Primate, and Armen Martirossian,
Armenia’s ambassador to the United Nations, released 12 doves into the sky,
symbolizing the Apostles spreading Christ’s message throughout the world.

The Easter celebrations were toped off by a luncheon, which included a
home-blessing service, a musical program by the a cappella group Zulal, and
the recognition of the various names associated with the holiday.

“As Christians, we must never forget that the story does not end with
Christ’s sacrifice and death, but with His resurrection. Our Lord had
something more to offer those He loved: not just death on the cross, but
something greater: the promise of eternal life with Him, in God’s Kingdom,”
the Primate said to the overflow crowd on Easter. “That is the gift He
holds out to us — the gift that is ours, if we will accept it. These past
weeks, many people have been deeply moved by what we owe to Jesus. But let
us not forget the gift He offers, which transformed death into hope: the
gift of Easter Sunday. That unshakable sense of hope is what truly
distinguishes us as Christians.”

— 4/13/04

E-mail photos available on request. Photos also viewable on the Eastern
Diocese’s website,

PHOTO CAPTION (1): Twelve men ordained as deacons, sub-deacons, and altar
servers by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese, line
up to take part in the Washing of the Feet service on Holy Thursday, April
8, 2004, at New York City’s St. Vartan Cathedral.

PHOTO CAPTION (2): Re-enacting Christ’s humility, Archbishop Barsamian
washes the feet of Stolebearer Andrew Martaian from the St. Thomas Church of
Tenafly, NJ, one of 12 men participating in the Washing of the Feet service
on Thursday, April 8, 2004.

PHOTO CAPTION (3): An overflow crowd of more than 1,500 people filled New
York City’s St. Vartan Cathedral for Easter services on Sunday, April 11,

PHOTO CAPTION (4): Parishioners kiss Archbishop Barsamian’s hand cross
during a procession through St. Vartan Cathedral on Easter Sunday, April 11,

PHOTO CAPTION (5): Armenians line up to receive communion from one of the
three altars used to accommodate the overflow crowd of worshipers on Easter
Sunday, April 11, 2004, at New York City’s St. Vartan Cathedral.

PHOTO CAPTION (6): Archbishop Barsamian performs the traditional Antasdan
ceremony, or “Blessing of the Fields,” on the plaza of St. Vartan Cathedral
on Sunday, April 11, 2004.

PHOTO CAPTION (7): Doves are released from St. Vartan Cathedral on Easter
Sunday to symbolize the 12 Apostles of Christ evangelizing the globe.
(Photo JK Hovhannes)

PHOTO CAPTION (8): Worshipers line up at New York’s St. Vartan Cathedral to
take home blessed butter, following the “Washing of the Feet” service on
Holy Thursday, April 8, 2004.

PHOTO CAPTION (9): The Armenian a cappella group Zulal performs during the
Easter luncheon at New York City’s St. Vartan Cathedral on April 11, 2004.
(Photo JK Hovhannes)

# # #

CPJ: Armenia: Journalists beaten at an opposition rally

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

ARMENIA: Journalists beaten at an opposition rally

New York, April 13, 2004 – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
condemns today’s early-morning attack on several Armenian journalists who
were covering an opposition rally in the country’s capital, Yerevan.

According to local and international reports, four journalists were
seriously beaten. Ayk Gevorgian and Avetis Babajanian, reporters with the
opposition daily Aykakan Zhamanak (Armenian Times); Levon Grigorian, a
cameraman with the Russian TV channel ORT; and Mher Ghalechian, a journalist
with the opposition weekly Chorrord Ishkhanutyun, were all hurt after being
beaten by police, according to the U.S. government-funded Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Elina Poghosbekian, editor of the newsletter of the Yerevan Press Club, told
CPJ that Gevorgian was treated for serious injuries but that he is now in
stable condition. CPJ does not currently have information on the status of
the other journalists. Police destroyed the cameras of both Gevorgian and

The rally, organized by several opposition parties, began yesterday evening
at around 6 p.m. with about 15,000 demonstrators marching toward the
residence of President Robert Kocharian and calling for a referendum on his
rule, RFE/RL reported.

Violence erupted at about 2 a.m., when the lights went out in the area.
Police then beat protestors and the journalists with batons, using stun
grenades and water jets to disperse the remaining demonstrators.

Another opposition rally had been held on April 5. Several hundred police
stood by while about two dozen unidentified men smashed the video cameras of
three Armenian television stations and the still cameras of two opposition
dailies. See CPJ’s alert of April 6, 2004.

“CPJ calls on Armenian authorities to investigate these attacks against our
colleagues and bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Executive
Director Ann Cooper. “We also urge officials to ensure that journalists in
Armenia are able to do their jobs freely and safely.”

Prosecutor Condemning But Not Promising

A1 Plus | 21:06:54 | 14-04-2004 | Politics |


Armenian General Prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepyan met Natalia Vutova, Special
Representative of Council of Europe Secretary General in Armenia.

A criminal case was instituted over the incidents in Baghramyan Avenue on
April 12-13. About 100 people who partook in the events, including MPs
Shavarsh Kocharyan, Alexan Karapetyan, Arshak Sadoyan and Vardan Lazarian
were taken in detention and examined as witnesses. All of them were released
after the examination.

Condemning the violence towards the journalists who performed their duty
during the rally, General Prosecutor said that the preliminary inquest body
of the criminal case will refer to the matter and illegal actions will be

Mrs. Vutova in her turn said that Council of Europe closely watches the
events in Armenia and is sure that political extremism will be overcome by
laws in force and political dialogues.

Parliament is Not A Weapons Depot

A1 Plus | 21:37:58 | 14-04-2004 | Politics |


“Power is seized. What happened on April 13 proved Armenia to be a police
state”, MP, “Republic” Party Chair Albert Bazeyan announced.

He told how policemen and the special detachment had attacked peaceful
people. Bazeyan condemned Parliament leaders saying Parliament is not a
weapon depot to keep their arms and to use them against people.