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Armenian Court Releases Sasna Tsrer Members From Pretrial Detention


Sasna Tsrer supporters rally in front of the Prosecutor-General's Office during their trial last month.

YEREVAN -- A court in Armenia has released a member of the Sasna Tsrer armed group from pretrial detention on bail.

Aram Akopian's release on June 8 came a day after group members Areg Kyuregian, Ovannes Vardanian, and Tigran Sarkisian were also freed on bail.

All four men were ordered not to leave the capital, Yerevan, as investigations continued.

More than 25 other members of the group, dubbed by some the Daredevils of Sassoun, remain in pretrial detention.

In 2016, more than 30 members of Sasna Tsrer seized a police station in Yerevan's Erebuni district and held it for more than two weeks.

They demanded the resignation of then-President Serzh Sarkisian and the release of Zhirayr Sefilian, the leader of the radical opposition movement Founding Parliament.

One police officer was killed and another fatally wounded in the assault, which was followed by large-scale protests by the armed group's supporters and other Armenians, during which one police officer was killed.

The group members were arrested after they surrendered in July 2016 and have been in pretrial detention since then.

Most Sasna Tsrer members are veterans of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region in Azerbaijan that is under the control of ethnic Armenian forces. The 1988-94 conflict killed some 30,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

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