Thu, 13 Dec 2018
39
Washington

YEREVAN -- An appeals court in Armenia has reinstated the pretrial detention of former President Robert Kocharian, who is accused of overthrowing the country's constitutional system.

Kocharian's lawyer, Haik Alumian, told reporters in Yerevan that the court issued the ruling for his client to be arrested on December 7, two days before the country holds snap parliamentary elections.

Alumian said the ruling will be appealed.

Kocharian was initially arrested in July on charges stemming from his government's deadly repression of opposition protesters during the final weeks of his 1998-2008 rule.

He is accused of illegally ordering soldiers to use force against opposition supporters who were protesting against alleged fraud in the disputed presidential election of February 2008.

Eight protesters and two police were killed when security forces engaged in clashes with the protesters on March 1-2, 2008.

Kocharian denies the accusations, saying the current government was waging a political 'vendetta' against him.

Kocharian, 64, was freed on August 13 by a court of appeals that ruled that the constitution gave him immunity from prosecution in connection with the 2008 violence.

Kocharian announced he was returning to politics just days after his release from a Yerevan detention center where he was being held.

Since then, he has repeatedly accused Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's government of endangering the country's national security, undermining its relations with Russia, and lacking economic programs.

However, Kocharian has decided not run in the snap parliamentary elections scheduled for December 9.

Pashinian has defended the criminal charges against Kocharian, declaring on August 17 that 'All murderers will go to prison.'

RFE/RL's Armenian Service

RFE/RL's Armenian Service has been a consistent and dependable provider of independent information in Armenia for over 50 years. Today, it is a trusted source of information and regularly cited and reprinted by local media.

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Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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