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Kocharian Again Sues Pashinian


Armenia -- Former President Robert Kocharian (second from right) and his lawyers attend a court hearing in Yerevan, January 9, 2020.

Armenia’s jailed former President Robert Kocharian has again filed a defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, it emerged on Tuesday.

A lawyer for Kocharian, Hayk Alumian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that his client is seeking 2 million drams ($4,000) in damages and the retraction of what he regards as false and slanderous claims made by Pashinian.

Alumian did not specify which of Pashinian’s recent statements prompted the lawsuit.

The premier again accused Kocharian as well as another ex-president, Serzh Sarkisian, and other former Armenian officials of having “plundered” Armenia when he campaigned for a constitutional referendum in early March. He did not immediately react to the news of the lawsuit.

Kocharian already sued Pashinian for slander in September 2018 two months after being first arrested on coup charges. He withdrew the suit in June 2019 after Pashinian clarified through a lawyer that he did not publicly accuse the ex-president of “organizing killings” during the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan.

The coup charges leveled against Kocharian stem from that unrest which left eight opposition protesters and two police servicemen dead. The ex-president was also charged with bribe-taking a year ago. He rejects all charges as politically motivated.

The latest defamation suit was announced four days after Kocharian was taken back to Yerevan’s Kentron prison after spending more than three weeks in hospital. His lawyers renewed their demands for his release from custody, saying that the 65-year-old will risk being infected with coronavirus in the prison. Law-enforcement authorities countered that they are taking necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus among prison inmates.

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