Reporters Without Borders today voiced its outrage at a grenade attack that seriously injured investigative journalist Mark Grigorian in the centre of the Armenian capital of Yerevan on the night of 22 October. Grigorian, who is deputy director of the Caucasus Institute for Mass Media and Reporters Without Borders' correspondent in Yerevan, believes the motive of the attack was to prevent publication of an article he is preparing about a commando assault on the Armenian parliament three years ago.
"This exceptionally violent attack against our correspondent must be viewed as an attempt to silence an investigative journalist who was looking into a matter of national interest," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Interior Minister Hayk Haroutiounian. Ménard called on the minister to ensure that there is a thorough investigation and that Grigorian's professional activity is considered as the likely motive. He also urged him to do everything possible to guarantee the safety of journalists in Armenia.
Grigorian maintains that the grenade was clearly targeted at himself and that it exploded under his feet. He sustained injuries to his right lung, abdomen and legs, but his life is not in danger. He said he had no personal enemies or financial problems but that it was well known that he was preparing an investigative report on the 27 October 1999 commando attack on the Armenian parliament to be published on the attack's third anniversary. Eight of the country's political leaders died in the attack including the head of government, Vazguen Sarkissian and parliamentary president Karen Demirtchian.