European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has communicated the case Minasyan and others against the Republic of Armenia that concerns to hate speech and discrimination spread by Iravunk newspaper.

The suit is related to the article “They serve the interests of international homosexual lobbying: black list of enemies of nation and state” published by the Iravunk newspaper, in 2014. In the article the newspaper presents hyperlinks to 60 Facebook users, urging to stop any contacts with them, not to tolerate, as well as to fire them and not to be in touch with.

The black list was formed by Inga and Anush Arshakyans during a Facebook press conference of Azatutyun radio station, based on those who have raised critical questions. Before that, during the interview to Aravot newspaper, Anush Arshakyan, as an international jury of Eurovision, stated that detested the representative of Austria, the winner and homosexual Conchita Wurst who had performed in the form of a woman, but with beard, adding that she had such a disgust as having towards mentally ill people.

16 individuals appearing in the Iravunk article appealed to the Court. Anyhow, after losing the case in all courts of Armenia, on the grounds that the newspaper had exercised his right to freedom of expression, 14 from the plaintiffs appealed to the ECHR in 2015.

On February 12, 2018, the Court has communicated the suit, i.e. has addressed questions to the Armenian government. The questions make it clear that the lawsuit is being examined in the Articles 8, 14 and 17 of the Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The questions to the Government are as follows:

  1. Has there been a violation of the plaintiff’s right to “respect for personal and family life” contrary to the Article 8 of the Convention.
  2. Has there been discrimination against plaintiffs contravening the Article 14 of the Convention.
  3. In this case, the actions or omissions of the State were aimed at the elimination or limitation of any of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Convention, to a greater extent than provided for in the Article 17 of the Convention.

Based on the Article 17, which prohibits the abuses of the alleged right, the ECHR has yet to examine any case against Armenia.

The government has a three-month deadline to respond to the questions, after which the Government will be responding to the plaintiff’s request to submit its comments to the ECHR within a month.

The press conference video regarding this case is available here in Armenian.