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Armenian Court Cites Mental Illness In Suspending Activist's Trial

Former Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanian (left) defends himself during his trial in Yerevan in December.
YEREVAN -- Judicial proceedings against an Armenian opposition leader have been suspended due to a court-ordered report of mental illness, RFE/RL’s Armenian Service reports.

The defendant, Shant Harutiunian, is one of seven opposition activists who was arrested after a skirmish between police and opposition-led protesters left 10 dead and hundreds injured last year after the presidential election.

Harutiunian's family and six fellow defendants protested the psychiatrist's diagnosis.

"Shant Harutiunian does not need psychiatric aid," defendant Suren Sirunian said.

Another defendant, former Foreign Minister Aleksandr Arzumanian, said the judge fabricated the insanity plea.

Arzumanian's lawyer agreed that the medical evaluation should be made public, and called the court suspension "premature."

The seven defendants have been accused of the provocation of "mass disorders" and "usurpation of state power."