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Former Armenian Leader Freed From Pretrial Detention

FILE - Armenia's then-president, Robert Kocharyan, speaks to the media after casting his ballot during a parliamentary election in Yerevan, May 12, 2007.

An Armenian court on Saturday ordered former President Robert Kocharyan freed on bail from pretrial detention, local news agencies reported.

Kocharyan, 64, was arrested last July after peaceful protests drove his former ally and successor, Serzh Sarksyan, from power and propelled opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan into the prime minister's job.

Kocharyan, who was president from 1998 to 2008, has been charged with acting unlawfully by introducing a state of emergency in March 2008, following a disputed election. At least 10 people were killed in clashes between police and protesters.

He was freed on bail of 1 million drams ($2,000). He faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Kocharyan told Reuters earlier this month that powerful opposition forces were coming together to challenge the country's new leadership soon, and that he hoped to be among them.