Editor-in-chief of the homophobic Armenian newspaper “Iravunk”, Hovhannes Galajyan, has this week appeared before a Yerevan court following a legal case pursued by the LGBT organisation Pink Armenia.
Earlier this year Galajyan’s newspaper published a ‘blacklist’ of 60 individuals believed to be supporters and members of Armenia’s LGBT community. Alongside the names and personal details the newspaper called for members of the public to boycott the individuals and ensure that they could not work in the public sphere.
The blacklist campaign led to several individuals facing online attacks and a handful of people facing difficulties in their ordinary lives. Pink Armenia earlier this year reported the case of one man, an Iranian citizen, who now fears returning to Iran after being labelled as a homosexual because of Iran’s harsh treatment of gay people. The lives of other individuals have also thought to have been put at risk because of Iravunk’s actions.
Following Iravunk’s blacklist Pink Armenia supported 16 individuals named on the list to bring a court case against the newspaper and its editor. Because Armenia has no legislation in place protecting people against hate speech the 16 people are claiming that the newspaper damaged their “honour and dignity”.
This recent court date comes after an ongoing campaign by Pink Armenia to seek justice for the individuals persecuted by Galajyan and his newspaper.
This week’s court date saw Galajyan and his lawyer appear to defend their actions, which they see as justifiable. The 16 individuals standing against him were represented by members of Pink Armenia, who are acting as the legal team for this case.
Following judge consideration a court ruling on the case will be given on October 30th.