YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — A controversial pro-government parliamentarian admitted on Friday, June 4 stealing the mobile phone of an Armenian journalist who filmed him in a street in Yerevan.
The incident occurred on Thursday after Anush Dashtents, a correspondent for the Hraparak daily, approached the 28-year-old deputy, Hayk Sargsyan, and other persons standing outside an office of Armenia’s ruling Civil Contract party.
Dashtents said Sargsyan got angry when she switched on the phone’s camera and began asking him questions about Russian-mediated talks on the ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani border dispute. “He jumped on me like a tiger, took the phone and tried to delete [the video,]” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Sargsyan got into a car and left the scene after failing to delete it on the spot, Dashtents said, adding that she got her phone back about an hour later.
The lawmaker essentially confirmed this account and defended his actions, accusing Dashtents of violating his privacy.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry but I don’t want to answer your question,’” he told reporters. “Then that woman kept asking me questions and holding the phone in front of my face, as a result of which I took the phone and deleted the clip filmed by her.”