Armenia’s Minister of High Tech Industry, Hakob Arshakyan, has been caught on camera punching a journalist in the face.
CCTV footage from a cafe in Yerevan showed Arshakyan walking over to Paylak Fahradyan, who was sitting at a table with his laptop, before launching his attack.
An official investigation into the incident is underway.
Fahradyan, an editor at Armenian news portal Irakanum.am, reported the attack in a live broadcast on Facebook on Thursday. He said the minister was upset after he asked him why he was at a cafe during working hours.
‘First, Arshakyan told me he works at night and that all hours are working hours for him, after which he asked me to turn the camera off, and when I did, he started telling me that I would remember this day and started threatening me’, Fahradyan said.
After a short conversation, the footage shows Fahradyan returning to his table. Later, Arshakyan is seen approaching and attacking him, pushing his laptop.
Fahradyan said his hand was injured and that his phone and laptop had been damaged.
He urged law-enforcement bodies to accept his video on Facebook as a report of a crime.
The Prosecutor General has forwarded a case regarding the incident to the Special Investigation Service to look into.
Shortly after the first footage showing the attack appeared online, pro-government news site Civic.am shared additional footage of the conversation between Arshakyan and Fahradyan prior to the attack. They accused Fahradyan of using ‘indecent language’ and cursing, which they said led the minister to lose control.
In a post on Facebook on Thursday night, Arshakyan insisted he was against violence.
‘Any participant in our society, be it an official or a journalist, is first and foremost a person, has emotions, is sensitive especially in any issue related to the family’, Arshakyan wrote. He apologised to anyone in the cafe whose ‘rest he disturbed’. Arshakyan said he was ready to take responsibility for the incident.