On February 9 “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily informed that the day before, on February 8, an employee of the Yerevan Investigation Department of RA Police Ashot Kostanian made a resolution on stopping the investigation on the criminal proceedings on the ignition of the car, owned by “Haikakan Zhamanak” and used by its Chief Editor. As it has been reported, the fire occurred on November 22, 2004, and, according to the conclusion of the forensic fire examination, it was caused by an open fire source (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, December 3-9, 2004). The Chief Editor of “Haikakan Zhamanak” Nikol Pashinian qualified the incident as deliberate, directed personally against him, and introduced a version of the well known businessman, head of “Multigroup” concern and a deputy of the RA National Assembly Gagik Tsarukian being partial to it (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, November 19-25, 2004).
The information on the case closure was placed on the front page of “Haikakan Zhamanak” and was accompanied by a picture of Gagik Tsarukian. The newspaper noted it would get back to the subject in greater detail after it got a copy of the resolution on investigation stoppage. At the same time “Haikakan Zhamanak” pointed out the fact that the investigation body did not even interrogate Gagik Tsarukian. The newspaper also reminded that the investigator on the car ignition case, Ashot Kostanian named above, was also in charge of the investigation of attacks on journalists during opposition rally on April 5, 2004. As it has been reported, in June last year two of the media attackers, Hrayr Harutiunian and Ashot Avetisian, were sentenced by court to a fine of 100 thousand AMD (abut $ 180) each (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 4-10, 2004). This sentence, the trial itself, along with the preliminary investigation on the events of April 5 were qualified by a number of journalistic organizations of Armenia to be a farce. “Aravot” daily of February 8 made a supposition that the same Ashot Avetisian took part in the major and bloody skirmish on the evening of February 4 in Yerevan. This supposition was confirmed. On February 10, with a reference to the Department of Information and Public Relations of the RA Police, the press reported the detainment of the skirmish participants, including Ashot Avetisian.