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Jailed Armenian Oppositionist In Poor Health After Surgery

Sasun Mikaelian is serving an eight-year sentence.
Sasun Mikaelian is serving an eight-year sentence.
YEREVAN -- A prominent Armenian opposition figure jailed for his role in the 2008 postelection unrest is reportedly in poor health after undergoing heart surgery, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Sasun Mikaelian, 52, had a stent placed in a cardiac artery at Yerevan's Nork-Marash cardiology clinic late last week, and was quickly returned to a hospital at the prison where he is serving an eight-year sentence. It was his second surgery in the past two months.

His family and supporters said on February 10 that authorities should have given him more time to recover from the surgery before placing him in the prison hospital.

Mikaelian's sister, Susanna Mikaelian, told RFE/RL that "we are told that his condition is very bad." Arevik Stepanian, a Nork-Marash doctor who receives information on Mikaelian's condition from prison-hospital medics, added that "he has pain, breathing problems, and some discomfort."

Like several other prominent allies of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian, Mikaelian was convicted in June of organizing "mass disturbances" after the disputed February 2008 presidential election. He was also found guilty of illegal arms possession.

Because of the length of Mikaelian's eight-year sentence, he was not eligible for a general amnesty that led to the release of some 30 opposition members and supporters.

Mikaelian and Ter-Petrossian's Armenian National Congress say the charges against him are unfounded and politically motivated.