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Armenian Court Keeps Ex-President Kocharian In Pretrial Detention

Former President Robert Kocharian gives an interview in Yerevan in August 2018.

YEREVAN -- An Armenian court has rejected an appeal by former President Robert Kocharian to end his pretrial detention.

Kocharian was 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 has dismissed the accusations as politically motivated.

A Yerevan court last month granted a request by the Special Investigative Service (SIS) to extend by two months Kocharian's pretrial detention.

The ex-president 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 police officers 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.

Kocharian says the accusations are part of incumbent Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's political "vendetta" 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.