Fri, 18 Oct 2019

YEREVAN -- A court in Yerevan has rejected a motion by lawyers of former Armenian President Robert Kocharian to release their client from pretrial detention based 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.

Judge Anna Danibekian, who is presiding over the trial of Kocharian and three other former senior officials, published her decision on September 17.

Kocharian's lawyers have 10 days to appeal the decision to a higher judicial authority.

Before the publication of the court's ruling, Kocharian's son, Levon Kocharian, told journalists that the government was pressuring the judiciary to keep his father locked up.

Outside the courthouse, Kocharian's supporters and his opponents clashed with police detaining at least two people.

Kocharian faces charges of overthrowing the constitutional order relating to a 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.

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

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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