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Rights Ombudsman Visits Kocharian In Prison


Armenia -- Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan presents his the annual report in Yerevan, April 13, 2017

Armenia’s human rights ombudsman, Arman Tatoyan, has met with Robert Kocharian at a prison in Yerevan where the former president is held on corruption and coup charges strongly denied by him.

Tatoyan said on Monday that he visited Kocharian to familiarize himself with the latter’s prison conditions. “I was not presented with any discontent regarding the conditions,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

Tatoyan said the ex-president complained instead about the ongoing criminal and judicial proceedings against him. “Although the concerns were presented to me, I informed [Kocharian] that I have no right to interfere in or evaluate the proceedings,” added the ombudsman.

Kocharian was first arrested in July last year after being charged with illegally using the Armenian armed forces against opposition protesters in the wake of a disputed 2008 presidential election. He ordered army units into central Yerevan on March 1, 2008 amid violent clashes that left eight protesters and two police servicemen dead.

Earlier this year, Kocharian was also charged with bribery. He denies all the accusations leveled against him as politically motivated.

Kocharian, his former chief of staff, Armen Gevorgian, and two retired army generals went on trial on May 13. A district court judge in Yerevan presiding over the trial freed the ex-president from custody five days later. The judge also suspended the trial, questioning the legality of the coup charges.

Armenia’s Court of Appeals overturned both decisions before Kocharian was arrested again on June 25.

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