Thursday, April 12, 2007

Exiled Armenian journalist faces deportation

Thursday April 12 2007
By Roy Greenslade

An Armenian journalist living in exile in Britain has been taken from her Salford home by immigration officers and informed that she will be deported tomorrow. MediaWise, the media ethics charity, say that Gina Khachatryan was taken to the Yarlswood detention centre on Monday with her husband, Vahan, and their five-year-old daughter, Elen.

It appears that the home office are on the verge of making a terrible mistake here. Ms Khachatryan, a broadcast journalist was imprisoned in Armenia after witnessing and speaking out about electoral fraud. The family fled to Britain after she was released from jail in September 2003. She has been studying child care at Bury College. Elen, who speaks only English, is settled and happy at a Rochdale school.

It is believed that Ms Khachatryan could be in danger if she is returned to Armenia. The present plan involves her flying first to Malta, then to Moscow and on to Yerevan, the Armenian capital. She is so scared of returning to her home country that she would prefer to stay in Russia.

If journalists want more information, it may be able to reach Ms Khachatryan at the detention centre (Tel: 01234-821000). She is in room 250. Another key contact is Sue Arnall, of the Castaways organisation, based in Bury (Tel: 0161-764-9205).

I understand that the Manchester Evening News are about to run a story sympathetic to her plight. But time is running out...

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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