More Than 1/3 of Armenian MPs Sign Petition for Kocharyan’s Release

Forty one out of 105 parliament deputies have signed a petition to appeal to law-enforcement and judicial authorities to release Armenia’s former president Robert Kocharyan from custody.  

The petition was initiated by the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK).

Robert Kocharyan’s lawyers appealed the decision of the First Instance Court on choosing arrest as a preventive measure.

Robert Kocharyan was detained on July 27, on charges of overthrowing the constitutional order in 2008. In addition to Kocharyan, similar charges of overthrowing the constitutional order were brought up against the then Defense Minister Mikayel Harutyunyan. Also charged was retired general Yuri Khachaturov, a former chief of staff of the Armenian Armed Forces. Charges were brought up when Khachaturov was still the secretary general of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Khachaturov was released under $10,000 bail.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has strongly criticized the Armenian leadership, noting that the country’s new authorities do not fulfill their promise of not persecuting their political predecessors.

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On February 19, 2008, following a presidential election Serzh Sargsyan became the president of Armenia while his opponent, the first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrossian and his supporters refused to accept the results of the election. The growing rallies and peaceful demonstrations were met with heavy use of force as President Robert Kocharyan announced a state of emergency and army subdivisions entered Yerevan. The situation worsened on March 1, resulting in ten deaths, eight protesters and two policemen, and roughly 300 injuries.

In photo: the Republican Faction of the National Assembly, Photolure.