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Republican Trustee’s Sister Fined for Obstructing Journalist at Local Elections

Lori district court of first instance judge Suren Baghdasaryan on Monday found Vanadzor woman Mariam Avagyan guilty of obstructing Araratnews.am reporter Shoghik Galstyan at the Vanadzor Council of Elders elections in October 2016. Avagyan has been fined AMD 700 000, in addition to being banned from taking part in any election-related processes for a year.

On election day, Avagyan constantly hindered the journalist’s work at the 30/47 polling station, and prevented Galstyan from conducting interviews or making videos. Finally, Avagyan resorted to physical violence and scratched the reporter’s hand; she then proceeded to break the mobile phone that Galstyan was trying to make her videos with.

“Mariam Avagyan had no relation to that particular polling station, but she was there since the morning, helping the voters and talking with the Republican trustee, her own brother [Roman Avagyan],” Shoghik Galstyan said in conversation with Epress.am on Wednesday.

Avagyan has not been charged with causing physical harm to the reporter since the forensic medical examination was conducted 15 days after the incident, and Galstyan’s injuries were not officially recorded. As regards the property damage claim, Avagyan has paid Galstyan compensation under a settlement agreement.

“In court Mariam Avagyan would try to justify her actions by insisting that she did not want me to make videos of her everyday life. How the elections could be considered a part of her daily life, I do not know,” Galstyan told Epress.am.