Criminal case opened over Armenian election day attack
The Chief prosecutor’s office of Armenia has opened an investigation into the “obstruction of journalistic activities on the day of parliamentary elections.” Journalists came under attack as they had allegedly exposed voter bribery cases.
The incident took place in Yerevan’s Kond district in front of the campaign headquarters of the ruling Republican Party candidate, Hakob Beglaryan.
One journalist from Radio Liberty, Sisak Gabrielyan and another one from the information portal Araratnews.am, Shoghik Galstyan, noticed some voters coming out of Beglaryan’s headquarters with money in their hands before they entered a polling station.
Sisak Gabrielyan also went into the headquarters. Activists at the headquarters told him it was “a fee, not a bribe, which they were distributing and that he had to leave.” As they entered into an argument, some young people attacked the journalist and grabbed his phone. Afterwards, a scuffle began during which Sisak Gabrielyan received a minor injury to the eye area.
Shoghik Galstyan was filming the situation outside the headquarters. Local residents grabbed his telephone, insulted him and pushed him away, preventing him from continuing filming.
The case was opened under paragraphs 3 and 52 of article 149 of the Criminal Code (The obstruction of the exercise of electoral rights, the work of election commissions or the exercise of rights of a person participating in elections, through the use of force or the threat of its use by a group of persons).
In total, nine criminal cases connected with electoral fraud committed on the election day are currently in progress. Generally, the cases concern multiple votes being cast by individuals, and voting instead of another individual.