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Jailed Armenian Opposition Activist Hospitalized

Sasun Mikaelian

Sasun Mikaelian

YEREVAN -- Jailed Armenian opposition activist Sasun Mikaelian has been taken to a civilian hospital in Yerevan where he will undergo a heart operation, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Doctors at the Nork-Marash Heart Clinic concluded after an examination of Mikaelian on February 3 that he was at serious risk of a heart attack unless they placed a stent in an artery in his heart.

Lida Muradian, the hospital director, told RFE/RL that the surgery would take place in the coming days.

Mikaelian, 52, also had major surgery at a different Yerevan hospital in early December after complaining of serious respiratory and heart problems.

Armenia's human rights ombudsman, Armen Harutiunian, last week urged authorities to allow Mikaelian, the former parliamentary deputy and prominent veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh War, to receive treatment at 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 controversial 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 deny the charges, saying they are unfounded and politically motivated.