The editor-in-chief of Armenian newspaper the Iravnuk stood trial this week for publishing a blacklist of 60 LGBTI people and calling for them to be fired.
Hovhannes Galajyan wrote an online article in May that branded the listed individuals ‘enemies of the nation’ and said they ‘serve the interests of international homosexual lobbying.’
The article also included links to the their Facebook accounts.
LGBTI rights group Pink Armenia filed the lawsuit, representing 16 people on the list. The country has no laws protecting LGBTI people so the plaintiffs are claiming the article damaged their ‘honour and dignity.’
LGBTI rights group New Generation has also filed a lawsuit against the paper as well as an Iranian citizen who can longer return to his home country.
In the article, Galajyan called on ‘ordinary people to stop communicating with the lobbyist on the internet, as well as in real life, not to greet them, not to help them with any issues, not to engage in any business relations with them; state officials not to hire those lobbyists for public service jobs, and if they already work there, to fire them under any convenient pretext.’
He told employers, media owners and the heads of educational institutions to do the so same the listed individuals could not influence on public opinion or ‘participate in the upbringing of younger generations.’
Several LGBTI people wrote letters to Galajyan and editorial head Haik Babukhanyan demanding a retraction. Instead, the newspaper posted another article titled ‘And they still dare to request a denial?’ and have since published published several more stories aimed at the claimants.
Pink Armenia said, ‘[The] writings of the newspaper with their nature, contents and purpose contradict the Constitution and laws of RA [the Republic of Armenia]; violate the fundamental rights and freedoms set forth in the RA Constitution, laws and international laws; particularly, the right to non-discrimination, the right to liberty and security, the right to respect for private and family life.’