Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 12
The screening of the documentary titled “Godfathers in Germany: Armenian Mafia and Thieves in Law”, which was supposed to go on air on November 7 telling about the existence of the Armenian Mafia in Germany and relations of the Ambassador of Armenia Ashot Smbatyan with Armenian criminal gangs in that country, was postponed by the Berlin court based on the ambassador’s claim.
Instead of a 30-minute documentary, a 7-minute video report was shown (https://www.mdr.de/thueringen/video-247040_zc-1201c59b_zs-4e0ede05.html). The report provided information about the activities of the Armenian mafia in Germany and its exposure by law enforcement agencies, told about the joint journalistic investigation of the MDR TV channel and Der Spiegel, and presented an interview with one of the co-authors of this investigation, MDR correspondent Axel Hemmerling.
The report noted that the Armenian mafia in Germany has spread throughout the country. The Armenian criminal groups are headed by "godfathers", who, in turn, are subordinate to thieves in law. According to the data provided by Europol and Interpol, the number of Armenian thieves in law varies between 670-900, and most of them live outside of Germany.
There is evidence that the Armenian mafia in Germany and Europe has ties with the Italian mafia, the report says.
Also, as the report says, the German law enforcement agencies have a weak legislative base and technical capabilities for combating organized crime.
The screening of the documentary film about the Armenian mafia was postponed by a court decision a few hours before the broadcast, and the Armenian ambassador demanded a refutation of the information presented in the journalistic investigation.
And when MDR did not comply with the demand, the ambassador applied to a court. Due to the lack of time to consider the claim and a response on the part of MDR, the court decided to postpone the airing of the film.
The documentary film will be aired after clarification of legal issues, the message says. The claims that may be an obstacle to freedom of the press in Germany are generally not supported by the court. Therefore, many believe that the lawsuit filed by the ambassador of Armenia will soon be resolved in favor of MDR, and the documentary will be aired.
In addition, the fact that the Armenian ambassador resorted to legal remedies, even more attracted public attention to this issue, and all the leading media outlets of Germany follow this topic in the context of journalistic solidarity in order to ensure freedom of press.