Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan’s son became an MP and was released from arrest

Nov 6 2023
  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

Levon Kocharyan, son of former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan, became a deputy of the National Assembly today. The Central Election Commission announced this decision a couple of hours ago.

Kocharyan was arrested two months ago on charges of beating four policemen during an opposition protest. He denied the accusation and claimed that he himself was hit by the policemen during the protest organized in Yerevan on September 22. He was diagnosed with a concussion at a medical center.

The defense team believes that the arrest was due to the political views of Levon Kocharyan and his father.

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Former President Robert Kocharyan is the leader of the opposition Hayastan parliamentary faction. A few days ago, one of the deputies of the faction, Armen Charchyan, resigned his parliamentary powers.

After that, three candidates from the bloc’s pre-election list, Mirdat Madatyan, Angela Nalbandyan and Gerasim Vardanyan, applied to the Central Election Commission with applications to give up their mandates.

Psychologist Mihrdat Madatyan justified his refusal to give up his mandate by the impossibility of combining his parliamentary powers with his professional ones. Angela Nalbandian explained her decision by the fact that the party she represents has already decided to leave the “Hayastan” parliamentary bloc a year ago. Gerasim Vardanyan wrote on Facebook that his move was due to the “context of tactical positioning” in the fight against the authorities.

Levon Kocharyan was next on the list. The CEC decided to grant him a mandate during an extraordinary session.

As lawyer Alexander Kochubaev said earlier, “it turned out that it was not Levon Kocharyan who was engaged in active politics, but active politics was engaged in him.”

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Kocharyan’s lawyers argued in advance that after obtaining the status of deputy, “the illegal arrest should be canceled.”

“Levon Kocharyan, who does not have the status of a deputy and was illegally deprived of his freedom, cannot remain in prison from the moment he acquires the status of a deputy on November 6, 2023,” their statement read.

They referred to the precedent decision of the Constitutional Court made in 2021 regarding other deputies subjected to criminal prosecution.

Former deputies of the Hayastan faction Artur Sargsyan and Mkhitar Zakaryan were also under arrest when they received their deputy’s mandate. In December 2021, the Constitutional Court issued a decision stating that “a person who does not have the status of a deputy and is in detention cannot remain under arrest from the moment he/she acquires the status of a deputy”.

However, after his release, the Prosecutor General may apply to the National Assembly with a motion to deprive the MP of immunity and re-arrest him.

The prosecutor’s office has so far refused to say whether they will appeal to the parliament after Levon Kocharyan’s release.