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Court Sanctions Pretrial Detention For Armenian Opposition Activist

YEREVAN -- A court in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, has sanctioned the pretrial detention of opposition activist Dmitry Harutiunian.

According to the court's decision on September 3, Harutiunian, 32, an activist in the Preparliament civic movement, will be held for two months.

Harutiunian, a military physician, was detained on August 24 during a protest against controversial plans by a local businessman to construct a new building in downtown Yerevan. He was charged with disobeying and insulting police.

His wife, Yelena Kozhenakina, who is a Russian citizen, says she plans to ask the Russian Embassy in Yerevan to intervene in the situation.

She says police physically intimidated her, her two children -- who are also Russian citizens -- and her husband during the latter's detention.

Harutiunian's lawyers say their client's detention is politically motivated.