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Yerevan Court Hears Arguments On Petition To Release Ex-President

Former President Robert Kocharian at a court hearing in Yerevan in July.

Armenia's Prosecutor-General's Office has argued that there are no grounds to drop criminal proceedings against former President Robert Kocharian, or to release him from custody, as demanded by his defense team.

The two sides presented their arguments in a Yerevan court on September 9 after Kocharian's lawyers petitioned for his release, based on a ruling by the Constitutional Court last week that the former president's July arrest was "unconstitutional."

Prosecutors argued that the constitution does not provide Kocharian immunity from prosecution related to his decision to declare emergency rule to quell protests against the results of the 2008 presidential election.

Kocharian faces charges of overthrowing the constitutional order relating to the March 2008 decision to call in troops following clashes that left at least eight people, including a police officer, dead in the worst civil violence in that country's post-Soviet history.

Supporters of Kocharian had assembled outside a Yerevan court on September 9 demanding his release.

It is unclear when the court will rule on the defense's petition for the release of Kocharian, who has been released two times prior -- in August 2018 and in June 2019 -- before being arrested again.

A court hearing in Kocharian's case is scheduled for September 12.