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Police withdrew proposed “Propaganda” bill

PoliceIn August 2013 the Police Department of the Republic of Armenia drafted changes in the “Code of the Republic of Armenia on Administrative Infringements”, particularly adding two articles which set forth responsibility for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”.

As provided in the draft addenda, the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations would result in penalty of 50 fold up to 100 fold of the defined minimum salary for citizens; for public officials 100 fold up to 150 fold; and for legal entities the penalty costs 200 fold up to 250 fold of the defined minimum salary.  If the “non-traditional sexual relations are propagated” by using mass media sources, it shall result in penalty of 100 fold up to 150 fold of the defined minimum salary for citizens; 150 fold up to 200 fold fine for public officials; and 200 fold up to 350 fold fine for legal entities.

The Legal Department of RA Police based the draft changes by stating its significant role in the protection of Armenian families. In addition, the draft changes did not define what “traditional sexual relations”, “non-traditional sexual relations”, or “propaganda” mean in that context. Furthermore, in a secular and democratic state, where freedom of speech is declared as part of the Constitution, the term “propaganda” should not be applied to harmless acts.

On August 8 the Legal Department of Police Forces of the Republic of Armenia withdrew the draft amendments to the Code of Administrative Infringements. As it was provided in the official website of RA Police, chief of Police Vladimir Gasparyan has sent the bill back considering the gaps and shortcomings identified during the discussions, as well as noting that the bill is not a police priority for them.

Nevertheless, the draft addenda to the law has not been cancelled but postponed.