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January 23
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YEREVAN. – About two hours before the court hearing on the custody case regarding Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan, his supporters are staging a protest at the courtyard of the capital city Yerevan court of general jurisdiction where this hearing is held. Earlier, they had carried out a car rally.

Shortly thereafter, a group of government supporters also launched a demonstration outside this court, and said they had come to counteract to Kocharyan’s supporters.

There are a large number of police forces at the courtyard, and they are overseeing law and order.

Also, barricades are being installed at the courtyard.

At Tuesday’s hearing, the court is expected to make a ruling on the motion by Robert Kocharyan’s attorneys.

At Monday’s hearing, Kocharyan’s legal defenders motioned that the judge who is presiding over this hearing recuse himself from continuing to hear the criminal case against second President Robert Kocharyan and some other former officials, and because of bias and not being independent.

The prosecutor has confirmed the indictment on the part that has been separated from the criminal case on the events of March 2008 in downtown Yerevan, and regarding Robert Kocharyan, Seyran Ohanyan, Yuri Khachaturov, and Armen Gevorgyan.

The Special Investigation Service has filed 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 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.

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