The Court of Appeals has left the 16 citizens vs. Iravunk paper’s verdict by the Kentron and Nork Marash Court of First Instance unchanged, stating that the paper did not offend the citizens.
Back in October, the Court of First Instance rejected the citizens' demand that the paper isuue an apology and compensate them with 5 million drams for insult, slander, and spreading hate speech. Instead, Judge Ruben Nersisyan handed a verdict where the plaintiffs had to pay 150,000 AMD to the paper and 150,000 AMD to the paper's editor-in-chief Hovhannes Galajyan in compensation for his lawyer costs.
Today, the Court of Appeals partially granted the appeal that the plaintiffs compensate Hovhannes Galajyan and Iravunk Media company’s lawyer costs. The defendants demanded that the 16 citizens each pay 9,000 AMD in compensation, however the court decided that the plaintiffs had to pay 100,000 for the defendant's legal fees altogether.
The plaintiffs are going to appeal the verdict to the Court of Cassation.
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.