In the opening session of the slander trial pitting the Word of Life religious organization against the newspaper Iravunk, the attorney for the group again maintained that the word “sect” was defamatory.
Word of Life is suing the paper for an article that appeared last October showing a collage of photos implicating the organization in a sex scandal involving a well-known Armenian show business personality who is said to be a member.
Word of Life is arguing that the article is libellous and defamatory and that it incites religious hatred. It wants the newspaper to retract the article and publish an apology on the front page.
As to financial compensation, the organization merely wants to be paid the 8,000 AMD it has spent for various court fees and 15,000 for translation and notary services.
When Hetq asked why, Avetik Papinyan answer was short and sweet – “Because that’s how it is.” He added that the word has a negative connotation in public discourse and could present evidence if need be.
Hayk Babukhanyan, President of Iravunk’s editorial board, countered this assertion by stating that he considers the word to signify a deviation from the Armenian Apostolic Church.
“We realize that the issue deals with the freedom of the press, and the press must be free in our country. It must enjoy the right to express its opinion on this of that matter,” argued Babukhanyan.
The plaintiff has till April 13, the next scheduled trial date, to substantiate its demands.