Court Reinstates Former Armenian President's Pretrial Detention - Kogonuso

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Dec 8, 2018

Court Reinstates Former Armenian President's Pretrial Detention

YEREVAN -- An appeals court in Armenia has reinstated the pretrial detention of former President Robert Kocharian, who is accused of overthrowing the country's constitutional system.

Kocharian's lawyer, Haik Alumian, told reporters in Yerevan that the court issued the ruling for his client to be arrested on December 7, two days before the country holds snap parliamentary elections.

Alumian, who said the ruling will be appealed, said Kocharian walked to jail on his own without waiting for police to take him there.

Kocharian was initially arrested in July on charges stemming from his government's deadly repression of opposition protesters during the final weeks of his 1998-2008 rule.

He is accused of illegally ordering soldiers to use force against opposition supporters who were protesting against alleged fraud in the disputed presidential election of February 2008.

Eight protesters and two police were killed when security forces engaged in clashes with the protesters on March 1-2, 2008.

Kocharian denies the accusations, saying the current government was waging a political "vendetta" against him.

Kocharian, 64, was freed on August 13 by a court of appeals that ruled that the constitution gave him immunity from prosecution in connection with the 2008 violence.

Kocharian announced he was returning to politics just days after his release from a Yerevan detention center where he was being held.

Since then, he has repeatedly accused Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's government of endangering the country's national security, undermining its relations with Russia, and lacking economic programs.

However, Kocharian has decided not to run in the snap parliamentary elections scheduled for December 9.

Pashinian has defended the criminal charges against Kocharian, declaring on August 17 that "All murderers will go to prison."
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