Jehovah’s Witnesses in Armenia Add One More Claim in Suit Against H1. Trial Postponed
Examination of the case Jehovah’s Witnesses in Armenia v. Armenian Public Television (H1) began at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron (“Center”) and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan today.
A few dozen members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses community in Armenia had gathered outside the courtroom along the corridor before the planned start of today’s hearing. The plaintiffs were represented in court by Canadian attorney Shane Brady (pictured, in center) and local Armenian attorney Yelena Margaryan.
Jehovah’s Witnesses in Armenia filed a claim earlier this year, requesting that the defendants be mandated to apologize for statements which harmed their honor and dignity, issue a full retraction, and publish an unedited response from Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to a release on the Jehovah’s Witnesses official media website. The plaintiffs also ask that the retraction be aired as many times on air as the defamatory statements were broadcast.
Recall, during Nov. 9, 10 and 11, 2011 broadcasts on H1′s Haylur and Tesankyun programs, derogatory statements were made in reference to Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with misinformation about the religious beliefs of Arman Torosyan, who was accused of brutally killing his elderly parents in Sevan, Armenia. Many media outlets reported that Torosyan was a Jehovah’s Witness; the organization, however, says this is untrue.
On the matter of retracting information that discredited one’s honor and dignity, Ara Zohrabyan, representing the defendants, noted that honor and dignity are features not characteristic of legal entities — only physical, that is, natural, persons can have honor and dignity. For this reason, the defense has asked that the claim be clarified.
The plaintiffs, in turn, noted that they would like to put forth a claim on their business reputation being compromised. Zohrabyan noticed that such a claim wasn’t made in the initial lawsuit. At this time, the court declared a recess to provide an opportunity for the plaintiffs to make additions to the suit.
During the break, the H1 attorney told Epress.am, “I think that was the result of the plaintiffs’ filing an initial claim and not being correctly oriented [that is, not having made a clear decision on the direction of their suit].”
After the recess, the plaintiffs added the section of reinstating their business reputation to the previous claim. After hearing the plaintiffs’ amended claim, Judge Samvel Tadevosyan noted that the change must also be sent to the defendants and the next court session will be called once the defense has become acquainted with the new version of the claim.
After the hearing, journalists directed their questions to Shane Brady, who, however, declined to provide comments.
“As an attorney, I’ll present my position at the trial. I don’t think it’s right to express an opinion outside of the trial,” he said.
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