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Nikola Pashinian Sentenced: Armenian Journalist Gets 7 Years In Prison For Organizing Unrest

01/19/10 11:02 AM ET   AP

YEREVAN, Armenia — A court in Armenia on Tuesday sentenced a journalist to seven years in prison for organizing mass unrest in the wake of the 2008 presidential elections.

Nikola Pashinian, editor of the Armenian Times opposition newspaper, was a central figure in mass rallies protesting the results of the February presidential poll. The protests turned violent and 10 people died while more than 250 were injured.

Pashinian fled the country shortly after the riots, but returned and surrendered to police in July. He denied wrongdoing and accused authorities of provoking the clashes.

Serge Sarkisian, who enjoyed the support of his predecessor Robert Kocharian, won the February vote.

Human rights organizations accused authorities and the police of excessive use of force in the 2008 clashes.

Washington-based watchdog Freedom House said in its annual report last week that human rights and political freedom have declined over the last year.

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Filed by Craig Kanalley  |