8 Oct 2019 16:57

Arrested ex-Armenian President Kocharyan says determined to continue opposing lawlessness

YEREVAN. Oct 8 (Interfax) - Former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan, who is being held in pretrial custody, has thanked public and political figures who have spoken in his defense and said he would continue to oppose lawlessness and support the development of the rule of law.

"It encourages me to see that reputable people in Armenian and Artsakh [the Armenian name for the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh republic] society jointly stand up against my political persecution. Your voice proves the undeniable fact that this is no longer a fight for one person's freedom and against one person's political persecution," Kocharyan said in a message circulated by his office on Tuesday.

"From now on, this is a fight in the name of a rule-of-law and democratic state and national dignity and against lawlessness," he said.

"The policy of lawlessness" pursued by incumbent Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan "has stirred the thinking part of society," he said.

"I would like you to know that I am fully determined to continue my fight, even from a prison cell. I find it ridiculous that some people might hope and believe that depriving me of freedom can make me abandon my principles and political objectives, which I started to attain back in 1988, from the very first days of the Karabakh movement. It is not the first time in my life that I have to bear hardships in the name of an important goal, and this cannot break me," he said.

Kocharyan said he was sure that "justice will prevail, and we will keep building our two republics and strengthening their security together."

Kocharyan was arrested in July 2018 after he was charged with overthrowing the constitutional system in relation to the developments of March 2008. At the time, Kocharyan was leaving his post and preparing to hand over his powers to Serzh Sargsyan, who had won the election. Supporters of presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosyan disagreed with the voting results and staged protest actions. The authorities dispersed the multi-thousand strong protest. Ten people were killed and over 250 injured in the unrest.