YEREVAN -Armenia’s Minister of High-Tech Industry Hakob Arshakyan announced his resignation on Wednesday almost two weeks after assaulting a journalist at a restaurant in Yerevan.
“As a citizen of the Republic of Armenia, I find it unacceptable for an official to use violence against any citizen,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Arshakyan referred to a violent incident at the restaurant where he dined with his wife on March 18. Footage from a security camera publicized afterwards showed him hitting Paylak Fahradyan, the editor of the Irakanum.am news website, in the face and damaging his laptop computer.
The altercation reportedly occurred moments after Fahradyan approached Arshakyan and asked him to explain why he is not at work.
The video sparked an uproar from Armenian journalists and media associations. Some of them demanded the minister’s resignation.
Law-enforcement authorities pledged to investigate the assault. The Special Investigative Service told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Wednesday it has yet to decide whether to prosecute Arshakyan.
In his first reaction to the incident, Arshakyan implicitly accused Fahradyan of violating his privacy but said he is ready to bear responsibility for his actions. He later apologized to the journalist.
Arshakyan confirmed his resignation in the afternoon. “I am thereby expressing my intolerance towards both physical and psychological violence,” he said. “I hope that the incident will serve as a lesson for our society and that we will love each other and respect everyone’s right to privacy a bit more.”
Arshakyan is a senior member of Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party. He has held the ministerial post since October 2018.