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Armenia’s Ex-President Kocharian Denied Bail

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian gestures as he attends a court hearing in Yerevan, on September 20. (file photo)

YEREVAN -- А court in Yerevan has denied bail to former President Robert Kocharian, who faces charges of overthrowing the constitutional order.

The September 20 ruling comes three days after the judge who presides over the trial rejected a motion by Kocharian's lawyers to release their client from pretrial detention.

The lawyers had based their request on a September 4 ruling by the Constitutional Court that declared unconstitutional a legal provision used by law enforcement authorities to arrest and prosecute the 65-year-old ex-president.

Kocharian's defense team, which has already appealed the September 17 decision to a higher judicial authority, has 10 days to appeal the latest ruling.

As in previous hearings in the case, dozens of Kocharian supporters and opponents held rival protests in front of the court building on September 20 amid a stepped-up police presence.

The charges against Kocharian and three other former senior officials relate to a March 2008 decision to call in troops following clashes that left at least 10 people, including law enforcement officers, dead in the worst civil violence in that country's post-Soviet history.

Since being arrested in July 2018, Kocharian has twice been released from pretrial detention by court decisions, but in both cases he was rearrested after prosecutors’ appeals.