The son of former Armenian president Robert Kocharyan has been appointed an MP in a bid by the opposition to secure legal immunity and his release from pre-trial detention.
Levon Kocharyan was detained on 22 September and charged with attacking police officers during a protest calling for the government to resign in the wake of Azerbaijan’s attack on Nagorno-Karabakh.
He was hospitalised later that day with a concussion which his lawyer attributed to his being ‘severely beaten’ by police.
On Sunday, Kocharyan’s legal team announced that he would become an MP, and so be released after ‘almost two months of illegal detention’. On Monday, Kocharyan was approved as an MP by the Central Electoral Commission.
The move came two weeks after Armen Charchyan, an MP belonging to the opposition Armenia Alliance faction led by Robert Kocharyan, submitted his resignation. Following this, the three candidates above Levon Kocharyan on the Armenia Alliance’s electoral list formally refused to take up Charchyan’s seat.
According to Kocharyan’s lawyers, he can no longer be imprisoned from the moment he acquires the status of an MP.
Kocharyan was a candidate for the opposition Armenia Alliance in 2021, and has taken part in a number of anti-government protests in recent years.
Kocharyan’s legal team maintain that his detention was illegal, and that he was ‘a victim of torture’ by police. They have also noted that while becoming an MP will end Kocharyan’s detention, the criminal case against him will continue.