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Appeals Court Sustains Lower Court Ruling in Libel Suit Against Local Paper

The Court of Appeals today denied an appeal by Dareskizb LLC, publisher of local daily Haykakan Jamanak (“Armenian Times”), thereby sustaining a lower court ruling mandating the paper to pay compensation for damages caused through libel and insult to three MPs.

Recall, in February of this year, the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron (Center) and Nork Marash Districts of Yerevan charged Haykakan Jamanak to pay 2 million 44 thousand AMD (about $5,600 USD) each to three members of parliament (who are also major businessmen): Ruben Hayrapetyan, Samvel Aleksanyan and Levon Sargsyan.

The three MPs were demanding that the paper not only publish a retraction to a story published on Oct. 14, 2010, titled “Seven of the Eight are on the List”, but also pay compensation to the tune of 2.5 million AMD each — for moral losses and court expenses incurred.

Speaking to Epress.am after court issued its verdict in February, Haykakan Jamanak Managing Editor Hayk Gevorgyan called the ruling the usual round of unlawfulness.

“The court is their [the MPs] own court. We didn’t doubt this ruling would happen. For us, nothing unusual has happened. And we are definitely going to appeal this ruling in the Court of Appeals,” he had said.

The article in question stated that Russian law enforcement agencies had created a list in which different Armenian officials and businessmen were named as being connected to a number of criminal cases and with Russian criminal groups. The three plaintiffs were among those named by the paper.