'Boat-Rocking' Civil Rights Activist Attacked In Armenia

By RFE/RL's Armenian Service

January 19, 2015

YEREVAN -- A prominent Armenian civil rights activist has been severely beaten in an attack in the capital, Yerevan.

Colleagues said Vilen Gabrielian was attacked by four unknown assailants at about 10 p.m. on January 18 in downtown Yerevan.

One colleague, Akop Simidian, told RFE/RL that the attackers wore masks and beat Gabrielian with wooden sticks.

He said Gabrielian's head was covered with blood, his face swollen and bruised after the attack.

Simidian said he believes the attack was retribution for his activism.

Gabrielian gained prominence with online campaigns for civil rights in the South Caucasus nation.

He is known on social networks by a nickname that means "boat-rocker."