Armenia: Activists opposing Lydian Intl.'s Amulsar gold mine face surveillance & smear campaign in social media, allegedly linked to company; incl. company response

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Company response
24 May 2019

Response by Lydian International

Author: Lydian International

...This article is yet another example of clear misinformation and false claims against Lydian and the Amulsar project. The Criminal case mentioned in the headline has never “revealed that Lydian Armenia mining company employees were spying and running fake profiles in social media”. This is simply not true. The Gndevaz born activist Tehmine Yenokyan filed a criminal complaint in September 2018 and claimed that the employees of the company have secretly photographed her and “collected private information about her”...The residents of Gndevaz community who, according to the case, did confess to have taken photos of their neighbor Tehmine Yenokyan, are not and have never been Lydian Armenia employees. The investigation revealed that these residents of Gndevaz took pictures of the Head of the Environmental Inspection Committee Artur Grigoryan, who was tasked with the environmental inspection of the Amulsar project, coming out of activist Yenokyan’s house, as evidence of their belief that Artur Grigoryan supports the activists and cannot be an impartial state official...[T]he investigation concluded that there was no criminal act in neither taking the pictures, nor distributing those, since the pictures aimed at informing the public about the possible bias of a high-ranking state official. The Criminal case was dropped by the investigators in February 2019, and the charges against all involved parties were withdrawn...

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Article
9 April 2019

Criminal case reveals that Lydian Armenia mining company employees were spying and running fake profiles in social media

Author: Armenian Environmental Front (AEF) civil initiative

All around the world we witness mining companies targeting citizens for fighting for the protection of nature. Armenia is in no exception. For years paid media, specialists, as well as recent fake users and pages in social media carried out online discrediting campaigns, especially in Facebook. The case of journalist from Gndevaz – Tehmine Yenoqyan, is extraordinary as the criminal case showed that employees of Lydian Armenia (the company that wanted to exploit gold in Amulsar), were spying on the journalist...Similar persecutions by Lydian Armenia are continuous and have affected other citizens, while employees of the company have often provoked the locals, created hostility against environmentalists and protectors of Amulsar, incited conflicts between communities, terrorized and tried to create atmosphere of fear in Jermuk and Gndevaz. During these months locals and environmentalists have implemented the state’s regulatory functions i.e. protection of nature and their rights, for which they have been oftentimes targeted. Lydian Armenia has filed a lawsuit against geographer, member of Armenian Environmental Front Levon Galstyan, lawyer Nazeli Vardanyan, environmentalist, member of Armenian Environmental Front Ani Khachatryan, Hayk Grigoryan and myself, demanding one million AMD per case as a compensation for “expressions that have damaged their business reputation”. The company filed cases against residents of Jermuk and Gndevaz as well. My case showed that employees of Lydian Armenia are themselves using the method of disseminating fake information, and therefore proper investigation should be carried out both in regards with my case, as well as against other users and pages that share discrediting information in social media. This is not only a matter for holding the company reliable for its actions, but also a global issue of protecting the public from discrediting activities of private companies.

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