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Jailed Oppositionist Again Hospitalized


Armenia -- Sasun Mikaelian, an opposition leader serving an 8-year prison sentence for his role in the March 2008 clashes in Yerevan.

Armenia -- Sasun Mikaelian, an opposition leader serving an 8-year prison sentence for his role in the March 2008 clashes in Yerevan.

Sasun Mikaelian, a controversially imprisoned opposition figure, was again taken to a civilian hospital in Yerevan on Wednesday to undergo a second operation in as many months.


Doctors at the city’s Nork-Marash heart clinic concluded after a one-hour examination of Mikaelian that he will risk a heart attack unless they place a stent in his heart artery which they found to be “80 percent blocked.”

“He does have a problem,” Lida Muradian, the hospital director, told RFE/RL. “He has to stay here so we can perform a stent surgery.”

Muradian said the surgical intervention will take place “tomorrow or the day after.” “After that he will stay under our control for two or three days and then be discharged from the clinic,” she added.

Mikaelian was already transferred to another Yerevan hospital in early December after complaining of increasingly serious respiratory and heart problems. Doctors there cleared his respiratory tract during an operation that lasted for several hours. The oppositionist was taken back to a prison hospital three weeks later despite doctors’ warnings that a lack of oxygen supply has adversely affected its heart.

Armenia’s human rights ombudsman, Armen Harutiunian, last week urged law-enforcement authorities to allow the former parliament deputy and prominent veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh war to receive treatment in a heart clinic.

Like several other prominent allies of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian, Mikaelian was convicted in June of organizing “mass disturbances” in the wake of the February 2008 presidential election. He was also found guilty of illegal arms possession. The resulting eight-year sentence disqualified him from a general amnesty that led to the release of some 30 opposition members and supporters.

Mikaelian and Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) deny the charges as unfounded and politically motivated.
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