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Armenian Opposition Activists To Be Tried Separately


An Armenian protester shouts during opposition rallies in February 2008

An Armenian protester shouts during opposition rallies in February 2008

YEREVAN -- Seven opposition activists originally charged with trying to overthrow the government will be given separate trials for allegedly organizing violent protests last year.

Prosecutors dropped coup attempt charges on April 1 in Armenia's "case of the seven," all arrested for leading a protest in March 2008 after the disputed presidential election. One of the opposition activists is a close associate of former President Levon Ter-Petrossian.

Ten people were killed and some 200 were injured during the protest.

Yerevan judge Mnatsakan Martirosian announced that the activists, no longer charged with treason, will be tried separately, beginning with former Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanian and activist Suren Sirunian.

Martirosian denied them bail because of worries they would flee the country if released.

Arzumanian argued that his life's record is a "guarantee" that he will stay for his trial. "I am one of those who founded this state. I have nowhere to go,” he said.
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