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A protester holds a picture of Artur Sarkisian at a rally in Yerevan on March 17.

Several hundred people gathered for the third day in Armenia's capital, Yerevan, to demand a full investigation into the recent death of activist Artur Sarkisian.

Sarkisian, 49, passed away on March 16 just days after being released from prison following a 25-day hunger strike.

One of the doctors who treated the activist said he died of heart failure after being moved to a hospital for emergency surgery.

Investigators said they have opened a criminal case into his death.

The autopsy was planned for March 18, but it was reportedly postponed at the request of Sarkisian’s family.

Sarkisian was in prison on charges of aiding opposition gunmen last summer.

He had been accused of delivering food to armed members of a radical opposition group during their two-week standoff with security forces.

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Iran's hard-line judiciary has sentenced the daughter of late Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to jail for "spreading propaganda against the regime," Iranian news media reported on March 17.

It was the latest move against pro-reform opposition in the Islamic republic ahead of a presidential election on May 19, when hard-line rivals of pragmatist President Hassan Rohani hope to regain control of executive power.

"Again, Faezeh Hashemi has been sentenced to six months' jail because of her critical remarks about the judiciary and the guards," the opposition website Kalemeh said, saying she was accused of "antistate propaganda, spreading lies against the judiciary and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps."

Hashemi, 55, has directed her strongest criticism against the head of the judiciary authority, Ayatullah Sadiq Amli Larajani, who reformist lawmakers accuse of corruption and benefiting from bails paid to the courts.

Hashemi, a women's rights activist and former member of parliament, has 21 days to appeal the sentence. She was also jailed for six months in 2012 for "spreading antistate propaganda."

In 2009, Hashemi was detained briefly after street protests against the reelection of then-President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Protesters said the election was rigged in favor of the hard-line president.

Hashemi's father was one of the founding figures of the Islamic republic and a close aide to the late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He died in January.

Allies of Rohani have criticized a crackdown on social media and the arrest of at least 15 moderate activists and journalists ahead of the election, in which Rohani is expected to run for a second term.

The deputy head of Iran's parliament, Ali Motahari, has called on the judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry to shed light on the arrests, condemning them as "election engineering," Kalemeh reported.

With reporting by Reuters and Al Arabiya.net

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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