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Armenia: Ex-president’s lawyer says politics drove charges

FILE- In this file photo dated Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008, Armenian President Robert Kocharian talks to the media at a polling station in Yerevan. Defense lawyer Aik Alumian said Friday Sept. 14, 2018, that a wiretapped conversation shows that charges against former president Kocharian are politically driven, and show Kocharian's rights were violated. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze, FILE)

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — A lawyer for a former Armenian president says a wiretapped conversation shows the charges against Robert Kocharian are politically driven.

In the conversation released earlier this month, the top law enforcement chiefs discussed taking action against Kocharian and his top associate. They mentioned Prime Minister Nikola Pashinian’s order to put the ex-president and the associate behind bars.

Kocharian was arrested and held for two weeks on charges of violating constitutional order for sending police and soldiers to disperse a March 2008 protest in Yerevan.

Defense lawyer Aik Alumian said Friday the wiretap shows his client’s rights were violated. Pashinian unexpectedly came to power this year after protests ousted his predecessor, who Kocharian backed.

Pashinian acknowledges the recording’s authenticity, but has described it as a provocation intended to obstruct justice.

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