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Has the Judge’s Prejudice Towards the Case Already Sealed the Verdict

Judge Nakhshun Tavaratsyan (pictured) basically revealed in one question that the court has already decided the verdict of the Iravunk case; “Does Conchita [Wurst] know that you are defending her this much?” – the judge’s rhetorical question after the Court of Appeals hearing testifies to the court’s prejudice towards the case.

Instead of the justice working according to the law in Armenia, traditional stereotypes and deep rooted convictions are taken into consideration: “conchitas” are outside the law in this country and don’t have the right to be defended or are not worth it. Are you different than us? Then even an Armenian passport does not safeguard your legal rights. The other can insult, slander, even murder them, but regardless, the court does not consider them full citizens.

That is the reason that the Court of First Instance did not consider Iravunk paper’s labels of “zombie”, “enemy of the state” as insults, but instead as a freedom of expression. Because in the state of law Armenia there is an unwritten law according to which anyone can freely insult “conchitas” and their supporters. 

This case has nothing to do with Conchita, and the judge, who has all the documents and is very well aware that she has no connection to this trial, still asks that question. The plaintiffs are defending their own, and not Conchita's, honor and dignity from public insults in the court.

The issue is that from the outset the court has been in agreement with Iravunk’s characterizations of the plaintiffs, as well as with Iravunk’s public call that those people, whose names have been published by the paper, not be hired by employers. Ultimately, the court, probably not coincidentally, is attempting to direct the suit demanding the rehabilitation of honor and dignity to its desired place.

Among the plaintiffs, doctor Vardan Hambardzumyan noted that he is convinced that in his sector, especially on a state level, they are not hiring him due to Iravunk’s published article. Basically, if this state has educated you and you are capable of putting your knowledge to practice for the state and society, to save people’s lives through your profession, you are not allowed to because you criticized Inga and Anush Arshakyans for speaking poorly about Conchita, and Iravunk paper, taking advantage of “freedom of expression,” has deprived you of your profession.

By attaching an unrelated name to the original case, 4 rules of the Judge’s behavior (1,2,7,16) were also violated, which relate to the society's trust toward the judicial system via the court, as well as the creation of the impression of prejudice towards the solution of the case. 

Is it possible that these assumptions are wrong? We will find out on March 5th, at 12:58PM.

In 2014, the Iravunk paper published an article titled “They serve the interests of international homo-addiction [sic] lobbying: the blacklist of the country’s and nation’s enemies”, which included a black list of 60 individuals' names, calling for people to show “zero tolerance” towards them, deny employment, fire them from civil service jobs, and not greet them on meeting.
Iravunk referred to those people, who during a Facebook Press Conference organized by Azatutyun radio had criticized 2014 Eurovision’s Armenian national jury members and singers Inga and Anush Arshakyan for uttering their “disgust” toward Austrian singer Conchita Wurst. 
16 of the 60 people collectively submitted a suit to the court, claiming their honor and dignity were sullied, however the court considered the suit to be insufficient. The citizens have appealed the verdict to the Court of Appeals and the verdict will be read out on March 5th.

Hovhannes Ishkhanyan