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Iranian Activist Released From Jail For Heart Surgery

Ebrahim Yazdi in July 2006

Ebrahim Yazdi in July 2006

Ebrahim Yazdi, the imprisoned secretary-general of the Freedom Movement of Iran, has been released from prison and taken to a hospital for heart surgery, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Yazdi, 80, is one of the oldest prisoners in Iran. He spent about eight months behind bars after being arrested along with several other members of the movement following the postelection crackdowns.

Officials have told Yazdi and his supporters that they must shut down their organization in order to be released.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi told the Fars news agency that Yazdi has been given a 10-day leave on bail to have the surgery.

Yazdi is reportedly in the hospital's intensive-care unit and has been forbidden to have visitors for health reasons. He is also suffering from cancer.

Yazdi has been in and out of the hospital since being imprisoned.

Yazdi's son-in-law, Mehdi Nurbakhsh, recently told RFE/RL that prison officials had disregarded doctors' advice during a previous hospital stay when they returned Yazdi to jail before he was considered fit.

Nurbakhsh said that more than 20 members of the Freedom Movement are in prison. "We don't know what they [officials] want to do," he said.