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Armenian Activists Decry Ruling For Pro-Government Daily

  • RFE/RL's Armenian Service

Rights activists in Armenia have called a court ruling in favor of a pro-government newspaper disgraceful.

A Yerevan court ruled against a libel case by 16 people against the daily "Iravunk," which is owned by parliament deputy Hayk Babukhanian, a member of the ruling party faction.

The plaintiffs filed the suit because the daily published an article, "Black List of Enemies of the Nation and the State," in the spring that pictured 60 people it said campaigned against sister singers Inga and Anush Arshakian.

The singers made controversial statements in May about 2014 Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Wurst, a bearded drag queen.

The "Iravunk" article called on companies to sack the 60 people and for Armenians not to greet or help them.

The court also ruled that the plaintiffs must each pay the newspaper 300,000 drams ($730) for legal expenses.