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Armenia: Appeals Court Upholds Acquittal of Kocharyan

Armenia’s Court of Appeals has rejected a motion filed by state prosecutors to overturn a lower court’s decision to throw out coup charges brought against former President Robert Kocharyan.

Kocharyan and other former government officials were charged with “usurping state power” during the 2008 post-election protests in Yerevan. 

Kocharyan was first arrested in the summer of 2018. In 2020, Armenia’s Court of Appeals issued him bail in the amount of 2 billion AMD ($4.167m).

In March 2021, Armenia’s Constitutional Court today ruled that the criminal case against Kocharyan must be dropped because the Criminal Code article in question (Article 300.1) runs counter to two articles of the constitution.

A district court acquitted Kocharyan and the other defendants soon afterwards.

State prosecutors appealed the acquittal. The Court of Appeals rejected the motion late on Friday.

The other three defendants in the case are Armen Gevorgyan (Armenia’s National Security Council Secretary at the time) and two other former government officials (then Armenian Deputy Minister of Defense Yuri Khachaturov and Seyran Ohanyan, who was Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces in March 2008).

All four say the charges are politically motivated.

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