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Armenian Court Extends Detention Of Ex-President Kocharian

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian (file photo)
Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian (file photo)

A court in Yerevan on Friday has extended by two months the pretrial detention of Robert Kocharian, a lawyer for the former Armenian president said after the court session on March 15.

Aram Orbelian also said he would appeal the decision.

Kocharian was again arrested in December more than four months after being charged with overthrowing the constitutional order during the final weeks of his decade-long rule that ended in April 2008.

He denies the accusations as politically motivated.

Earlier this month, the Special Investigative Service (SIS) asked the court to extend Kocharian’s arrest for the second time since his rearrest late last year. The court on March 15 granted the request.

Kocharian’s lawyers have dismissed the SIS’s case against their client as groundless and politically motivated.

Kocharian is accused of ordering security forces to use force against opposition supporters who protested against alleged fraud in a disputed presidential election in February 2008.

Eight protesters and two policemen were killed when security forces quelled the two days of protests that began on March 1, 2008. The crackdown came after Kocharian declared a three-week state of emergency.

The 64-year-old ex-president says the accusations are part of incumbent Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s political "vendetta" waged against him.

Pashinian played a key role in the 2008 protests and spent nearly two years in prison because of that.

He has strongly defended the criminal case against Kocharian and denied orchestrating it.

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