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Armenian Oppositionist Convicted Anew After Amnesty

An Armenian court has convicted an opposition member on a charge related to last year's postelection unrest and sentenced him to two years in prison, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Grigor Voskerchian, who walked free from the courtroom as part of a general amnesty declared by authorities last month after spending about 18 months in prison, was sentenced on July 10.

Voskerchian, a former mayor of the town of Abovian, which is about 20 kilometers northeast of Yerevan, and a local campaign manager for opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian in the 2008 presidential election, was originally charged along with six other oppositionists with organizing a mass disorder in the notorious "case of seven."

But after being pardoned and granted his freedom on June 22, he was charged and found guilty by Judge Gagik Poghosian of "making public calls for a violent overthrow of the constitutional order."

He told RFE/RL after the verdict was announced that he was found guilty in "the conditions of the existing political order."

Defense lawyer Stepan Voskanian said that by convicting his client on another count, the court in fact admitted "the absence of any element in Grigor Voskerchian's actions suggesting that he planned or organized a mass disorder."

Voskerchian said he will appeal the verdict to a higher court.