Armenia’s ex-president freed from jail on $4.1-million bail

International

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — A court in the Armenian capital ruled Thursday to free former Armenian President Robert Kocharian on $4.1-million bail — the highest in the ex-Soviet nation’s history.

The Court of Appeals in Yerevan granted bail to Kocharian following stormy deliberations, during which a supporter of incumbent Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian denounced the judge as a “traitor.” Prosecutors said they would appeal the ruling.

Kocharian, who served as president in 1998-2008, has been accused of violating the constitutional order by sending police to disperse protesters in Yerevan in March 2008. Eight demonstrators and two police died in the clash and 250 people were injured.

Kocharian has rejected the charges as a political vendetta by Pashinian, who was one of the leaders of that protest.

Kocharian’s release Thursday follows a long cycle of him being jailed and then released in past years.

Kocharian was arrested in July 2018, then freed on appeal the following month only to be jailed again in December that year. He was released on bail in May 2019 and then arrested again a month later.

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