Armenia - Journalists physically attacked during election campaign

    MONTREAL, Feb. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders called today
for the punishment of those responsible for attacking or obstructing three
journalists as they were covering the presidential election campaign in Erevan
on 19 February. "The authorities must take these incidents seriously," it
said. "The journalists were simply doing their job."
    The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the
election victory of former prime minister Serge Sarkassian was up to
international standards but improvement was needed.
    When journalist Lusine Barsegian, of the opposition paper Aikakan
Jamanak, took photos of ballot-box stuffing and non-secret voting at a polling
station, she was beaten by two men who seized her camera and dictaphone after
she refused to leave. Witnesses, including a police official, failed to
intervene and she was hospitalised. A legal inquiry has been opened.
    Samvel Avagyan, who works for the daily paper Haik, had his dictaphone
snatched from him when he tried to question people in a bus taking them to
polling stations after being given ballot papers by police near a market.
    Cameraman Ovsep Ovsepian, of the TV station A1+, was attacked as he got
out of his car by thugs who seized his recordings and tried to smash his
camera. He was insulted by one of the attackers who spotted a leaflet of
opposition candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian in the car.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)

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