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‘Discredited’ Yerevan Cafe Sues Armenian News Outlets Over ‘Misleading’ Story

Armenian “Flying Sail” Ltd has filed a lawsuit against Meltex Ltd, the parent company of A1 Plus TV,  as well as local news outlet Mamul.am for discrediting the company's honor, dignity and business reputation, seeking compensation in the amount of AMD 1 million (about $ 2,800) and a retraction.

The complaint filed on October 15 in a Yerevan district court accused A1plus.am of associating a Georgian citizen's nearly 15-year-old murder with the company's cafe “Aragast” (“Sail”) located on 41 Isahakyan St. Meanwhile, as stated by “Flying Sail” lawyer Hasmik Pakhanyan, the incident actually took place in a nearby cafe called “Poplavok” (“Float”) which belongs to an entirely different company.

Recall, on September 24, 2001, then Armenian president Robert Kocharyan’s bodyguards beat 43-year-old citizen of Georgia Poghos Poghosyan to death for approaching the president and addressing him “Hey, Rob.” Aghamal Harutyunyan, an officer of the presidential guard, was convicted of “unintentional murder” and received a suspended sentence of imprisonment of two years.

Speaking to Epress.am, the lawyer explained the delay by saying that in 2001, when the information was first published, the owner of “Flying Sail” was a minor and missed the envisaged 1-month period for appeals. “On September 24, 2015, А1plus.am rebroadcast the misleading story which had aired in 2001. The rerun gave us the opportunity to appeal to court within one month,” Pakhanyan stated.

She added that since Poghosyan's murder had attracted widespread public attention, many people avoided visiting cafe “Aragast” based on their political beliefs. “For years the cafe suffered huge financial losses.”

Before lodging the complaint, Pakhanyan said, they appealed to both A1 Plus and Mamul.am, which had republished A1plus.am's programme, but the outlets refused to publish a refutation.

In a conversation with Epress.am, Meltex Ltd founder, A1 Plus TV director Mesrop Movsesyan branded the lawsuit a “nonsense.” “[In 2001] the republic's prosecutor said the murder had occurred in 'Aragast.' We were only citing the prosecutor.”