October 14, 2021 - 11:54 AMT
HRD challenges fresh anti-defamation law with Armenia's top court

Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan has filed an application with the Constitutional Court of Armenia to challenge the country's fresh anti-defamation law.

Tatoyan took the matter to the top court on Wednesday, October 13 and explained that the article considers insulting a person or their dignity in an extremely indecent way as a "serious insult", and gets complicated even more in later chapters. According to him, the article is full of vague wording, lacks legal specificity, and was adopted with gross procedural errors.

"I would like to emphasize that hate speech, any speech against dignity and opposing freedom of speech is reprehensible, such unsound phenomena should not take place in our society," Tatoyan wrote.

"But this does not mean that the state, instead of pursuing a systematic policy aimed at regulating this sensitive area, should immediately start using articles with vague wording and thus complicate the situation even more. Any method must be a necessary and useful one to achieve the legitimate goal set by the state."

Authorities in Armenia are currently investigating a case against a social media user for insulting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in a comment under a photo featuring the PM. Police say the alleged perpetrator has violated Article 137.1 of the country’s Criminal Code. The offense is punishable by a fine in the amount of AMD 3,000,000 ($6,000) or a three-month prison term.