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YEREVAN. – We see the grounds for keeping second President of the Republic of Armenia Robert Kocharyan in custody, Prosecutor General Artur Davtyan on Wednesday told reporters.

“And due to it, the body conducting the proceedings has filed a motion [with the court] to extend the period of [Kocharyan’s] detention,” he added. “(…) we have noted that there exists the grounds for [his] detention prescribed by law. We have especially emphasized the possibility of [his] unlawful influences [on witnesses], [and] which was also confirmed by the court.”

On March 15, the capital city Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction granted the Special Investigation Service’s (SIS) petition to extend Robert Kocharyan’s pretrial measure of custody for two more months, and denied the defense’s motion for releasing their client on bail.

The court found, however, that there was no reasonable suspicion on the bribery charge that is brought against him.

On January 18, the Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction granted the SIS petition with a request to extend Kocharyan’s confinement for another two months, but denied the motion by the legal defense team of Kocharyan, and to the effect that their client be released from custody on bail. The defense, however, appealed this ruling to the Criminal Court of Appeal. But on February 7, the court denied this appeal.

On February 15, the SIS announced that it completed the preliminary investigation into the criminal cases connected with the incidents of March 1 to 2, 2008.

The SIS assessed that there was sufficient evidence to file charges against second President Robert Kocharyan, former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan, former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and former CSTO Secretary General Yuri Khachaturov, and former Deputy Prime Minister and ex-Secretary of the National Security Council Armen Gevorgyan.

Accordingly, Kocharyan has been charged with breaching the constitutional order and taking a particularly large bribe; Ohanyan and Khachaturov are charged with breaching the constitutional order; and Gevorgyan is charged with aiding in breaching the constitutional order, taking a particularly large bribe, and legalizing unlawfully acquired property.

But solely Robert Kocharyan is remanded in custody in connection with this criminal case. Seyran Ohanyan and Armen Gevorgyan have been released on a signature bond, while Yuri Khachaturov—on bail.

On March 1 and 2, 2008 the then authorities of Armenia used force against the opposition members who were rallying in downtown capital city Yerevan, and against the results of the presidential election on February 19, 2008. Eight demonstrators as well as two servicemen of the internal troops were killed in the clashes. But no one had been brought to account for these deaths, to this day.

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