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Jailed Armenian editor barred from running for parliament

Publisher Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Publication Date 11 November 2009
Cite as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Jailed Armenian editor barred from running for parliament, 11 November 2009, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
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November 11, 2009

Nikol Pashinian at an opposition rally in FebruaryNikol Pashinian at an opposition rally in February

Armenian authorities have barred Nikol Pashinian, an outspoken opposition figure and newspaper editor, from standing in an upcoming parliamentary by-election, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Pashinian's lawyer, Lusine Sahakian, said on November 9 that she will appeal the "illegal and illogical" decision.

Pashinian, editor of the daily "Haykakan Zhamanak," announced he would contest the January 10 vote late last month, less than two weeks after going to trial on charges of organizing "mass disturbances" during the March 1, 2008, postelection demonstrations.

The protests ended with 10 people dead and more than 200 others injured.

The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), of which Pashinian is a member, was quick to endorse his candidacy.

Under Armenian law, only citizens who have permanently resided in the country for at least five years before an election can run for the National Assembly.

In a written statement, the Department of Passports and Visas (OVIR) in Pashinian's native town of Ijevan said Pashinian was absent from the country from February 26, 2008, to July 7, 2009, and is therefore ineligible to run for parliament.

But that information contradicts the fact that Pashinian was one of the main speakers at daily opposition rallies forcibly ended by security forces

in the early hours of March 2, 2008.

OVIR chief Norayr Muradkhanian acknowledged the factual error last week, saying that the statement issued by his colleagues in Ijevan was based on "incomplete information."

Sahakian insisted, however, that her client never left the country and that it falls on the police to prove otherwise.

Link to original story on RFE/RL website

Copyright notice: Copyright (c) 2007-2009. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036

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