IFEX - News from the international freedom of expression community
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ALERT - ARMENIA

1 May 2009

Online editor severely beaten, hospitalised

SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, April 30, 2009 - The Committee to Protect
Journalists calls on Armenian authorities to apprehend three assailants who
attacked Argishti Kivirian, editor of the independent news Web site Armenia
Today. The unidentified men beat Kivirian early this morning, leaving him
hospitalized in serious condition, Zhanna Alexanian, president of the
Yerevan-based organization Journalists for Human Rights, told CPJ.

"We condemn this brutal attack on Argishti Kivirian and call on Yerevan
police to swiftly apprehend and punish his assailants," CPJ Europe and
Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "Independent
journalists in Armenia, including those working online, have been subjected
to increased physical violence in the past year. Armenian authorities
should reverse this trend by investigating and prosecuting to the fullest
all responsible for today's attempt on Kivirian's life."

Local press reports and CPJ sources said Kivirian was returning home from
his newsroom at around 5 a.m., when three men attacked him in the entrance
to his Yerevan apartment building. The men appeared to have been waiting
for him, said Alexanian, who spoke to Kivirian's wife, the prominent lawyer
Luciné Saakian, shortly after the attack. Wielding rubber clubs, the
assailants hit Kivirian in the head and elsewhere on his body. Kivirian
struggled with one attacker who brandished a gun, causing the firearm to
discharge, Saakian told Alexanian. The shots roused Saakian and neighbors,
causing the assailants to flee, local press reports said.

Kivirian was taken to a Yerevan hospital where he was being treated for a
concussion and multiple bruises, the Armenian press reported.

Armenia Today is an independent Web site that publishes political, social,
and economic news, along with analyses of current events. In a statement
published after the attack, Kivirian's colleagues said they were convinced
the attack was connected to his work and vowed that the site would continue
operating as usual. Colleagues did not connect the attack to a specific
piece. Kivirian has not yet spoken publicly.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to
safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit
http://www.cpj.org

For further information, contact Nina Ognianova (x106) or Muzaffar
Suleymanov (x101) at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A.,
tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail: [email protected],
[email protected] , [email protected], Internet: http://www.cpj.org/

The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of CPJ.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CPJ.
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