By Emil Danielyan
An Armenian court has ruled to extend by another month the pre-trial detention of Murad Bojolian, a former government official accused of spying for Turkey.
Bojolian's lawyer, Hovannes Arsenian, told RFE/RL on Friday that the decision was taken last week at a closed-door court session. He said he hopes it will be the final arrest extension.
"I hope that the pre-trial investigation will be completed by the end of this month," Arsenian said. He added that the case will then either be sent to court or Bojolian will be set free for lack of evidence.
The court had previously prolonged the arrest periods by two months at the request of the investigators from the national security ministry.
Bojolian, who was the head of the Turkey desk at the Armenian foreign ministry in the early 1990s, was arrested on the Georgian border in January while he traveled to Turkey by bus. He was charged with collecting secret "political, economic and military information" for Turkish intelligence.
It is still not known whether Bojolian, who had lived a modest life since leaving the foreign ministry in 1997, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney refuses to disclose his defense strategy before the end of the inquiry.
Arsenian previously did not rule out the possibility that the charges against Bojolian will eventually be dropped. He said on Friday that he meets his client twice a week and finds the latter "in good health and high spirits."