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Armenian Opposition Businessman Set Free

Khachatur Sukiasian after his release from detention
Khachatur Sukiasian after his release from detention
YEREVAN -- Wealthy businessman and opposition supporter Khachatur Sukiasian was released from pretrial detention late on September 4, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

He was detained on September 1 after turning himself in to police officials to face accusations stemming from last year's deadly postelection clashes in Yerevan.

Sona Truzian, the spokeswoman for the Prosecutor-General's Office, told RFE/RL that Sukiasian was released after signing a pledge not to leave Yerevan until his trial on charges of helping to organize the "mass disturbances" on March 1, 2008.

Sukiasian, a strong supporter of former President Levon Ter-Petrosian in the presidential election, went into hiding after the protests with other opposition figures to avoid prosecution on charges he calls trumped-up and politically motivated.

Truzian said the Special Investigative Service (SIS), the law-enforcement body investigating the March 1 events, has taken into account the fact that Sukiasian turned himself in "voluntarily."

He was released from a maximum security prison in central Yerevan where he was taken shortly after his surrender.