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Activist Tells the Court Why ‘Dastard’ and ‘Criminal’ Should Not be Offensive to Police

Police officer Aida Demirkhanyan, who is suing civic activist Vardges Gaspari (pictured) for 1 million AMD in compensation for insulting her dignity assumes contradictory positions. She refuses to give interviews to the media and explain the grounds for her lawsuit, explaining that she is named as a police employee in the case, but in the courtroom, she made a motion to ban video recording as the case refers to her person. 

At the Court of First Instance of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts today, Demirkhanyan presented her evidence. Judge Edik Avetisyan granted her request to prohibit video recording, though Gaspari objected, saying that the matter is of public significance, since it is within the context of police-citizen relations. 

According to Demirkhanyan, Gaspari offended her with the words "scoundrel," "criminals," and "stupid being."

"I quote: 'police representatives are more filthy and unworthy than the prostitutes that work near the lake. You, beginning from Vladimir Gasparyan, are more vile and naked than prostitutes that stand at the side of the lake'," said Demirkhanyan. According to her, Gaspari continued to insult her after the lawsuit, accusing her of attempting extortion. 

"Police employees, beginning from police chief Gasparyan, Karapetyan, Osipyan, a number of other employees, including A. Demirkhanyan, are dastard criminals," said Demirkhanyan, again quoting Gaspari.

The court then gave the defendant an opportunity to present his case. Gaspari said he knows Demirkhanyan as a police officer and has not had a personal relationship with her, and he considers such an observation as an insult to him. 

Presenting evidence, the activist described a few cases in which the behavior of the police is enough to prove that police officers are criminals and that his assessment is not an insult but the truth. 

In particular, Gaspari described the behavior of the police after his protest against Ashot Karapetyan being appointed to the position of Yerevan Police Chief after he beat Grisha Virabyan; his detention during his protest outside Harsnaqar restaurant complex; being detained again two days after that; and other incidents. 

"I am deeply convinced that 'dastard,' 'scoundrel,' and 'criminal' are extremely mild terms to describe you. I can't find the words to express the depth of your dastardliness," he said. 

The judge interrupted Gaspari's speech, saying that in describing some cases, he is repeating what he said at the last session. Gaspari then made a motion to be provided with the last session's audio-recording. The court session was then postponed. 

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.