YEREVAN — A district court judge in Yerevan on Thursday accepted prosecutors’ demand to stop considering granting bail to former Armenian president Robert Kocharian prosecuted on coup charges.
Nelly Baghdasarian’s decision means that another judge will decide whether Kocharian should be freed pending investigation into his role in the deadly breakup of 2008 opposition protests.
Kocharian was arrested for a second time on December 7. His lawyers asked the court to release him on bail, arguing, among other things, that he did not attempt to obstruct justice after being set free in August.
Baghdasarian opened hearings on the appeal on December 28. The prosecutors demanded that another judge take over the case when the hearings resumed on Wednesday.
According to one of Kocharian’s lawyers, Hayk Alumian, they argued that Baghdasarian had recused herself from dealing with another suspect in the 2008 unrest case because of a possible conflict of interest.
Another defense lawyer, Aram Orbelian, criticized Baghdasarian’s decision, saying that the judge “avoided administering justice.” Orbelian said the judge should not have taken up the case in the first place if she had really felt that she cannot be impartial.
It was not immediately clear when the court will assign another judge to rule on Kocharian’s bail request.