Armenia’s Court of Appeals released on Wednesday a supporter of Robert Kocharian who was arrested in September on charges of harassing a judge presiding over the jailed former president’s trial.
It overturned a lower court’s decision to allow investigators to hold Narek Mutafian in pre-trial detention.
In an incident broadcast live on Facebook, Mutafian, and another young man approached and pursued the judge, Anna Danibekian, as she walked towards a district court in Yerevan. Mutafian, persistently asked Danibekian whether she believes she is among those “whimpering” judges that were lambasted by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
Danibekian complained to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), a body overseeing Armenian courts, about the incident before Mutafian and the other man, Sargis Ohanjanian, were arrested by police. They both were charged with interfering in the work of a court for the purpose of “obstruction of justice.” Ohanjanian was set free more than two weeks ago.
Kocharian’s lawyers criticized the two men’s action while accusing the Armenian authorities of resorting to selective justice. They said that the authorities turned a blind eye to a more serious harassment by government loyalists of two other judges who ordered Kocharian released from prison in August 2018 and May 2019.
One of the lawyers, Aram Vartevanian, praised the Court of Appeals for ordering Mutafian’s release. He said the Kocharian supporter did not have to post bail.