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“Insulting the Police Beyond the Power of Ordinary Citizens”: Armenian Activist Vardges Gaspari on Trial

Civil society activist Vardges Gaspari (pictured), as before, has an extremely low assessment of the dignity of RA Police Chief Vladimir Gasparyan and several of his subordinates including Aida Demirkhanyan. Gaspari said this himself today in the Court of First Instance of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts (presiding Judge Edik Avetisyan), which is examining police employee Aida Demirkhanyan's lawsuit against the activist, from whom she is asking for compensation of 1 million AMD for insulting her dignity.  

The reason for the lawsuit was Gaspari's statements against the police and Demirkhanyan, in particular. The latter was insulted when in court Gaspari said that some representatives of the police "are more filthy and unworthy than the prostitutes that work near Yerevan Lake".

During the conversation with Demirkhanyan, Gaspari tried to find out whether his words were perceived as an insult directed at an individual or a police employee. Demirkhanyan said she considers the words "stupid, uneducated, liar" as a personal insult. 

At the trial, Gaspari repeatedly claimed that he had no personal relationship with the plaintiff, stressing that transferring the incident to the plane of personal relationships is extremely insulting. 

The activist said that his position remains unchanged: the assessments he made of the police are extremely mild. 

After the court session, Gaspari told reporters that the court, in all likelihood, will rule in favor of the plaintiff.

"The police with this move directly appeals to possible extortion. I don't think that anyone was offended by my remarks, since it's beyond my and ordinary citizens' power and extremely difficult to insult a police officer. Police officers are such that they are not offended by their superiors' latest sexual expletives and remarks — how can they be offended by my words? When [former Yerevan Deputy Police Chief] Robert Melkonyan was pushing his officers onto demonstrators, he issued the most perverse curses […] now how can I insult that officer?"

The day and time of the next court date will be announced later.

Note, the police employee's complaint was submitted after the session in the Administrative Court, which examined another lawsuit against Gaspari in which the Armenian Police is asking for 50,000 AMD from the activist for calling law enforcement officers "villain, scoundrel, criminal" while protesting outside the Harsnaqar restaurant.