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Iranian Christian student suffers heart attack after prison beating

Middle East and North Africa

Iranian Christian student suffers heart attack after prison beating

Photo credit: Mohabat News

An Iranian Christian student imprisoned for protests against the government, suffered a heart attack earlier this month after a prison beating.

Karen Vartanian, suffered a heart attack after a prison beating was transferred from Fashafiyah Prison to a hospital in Tehran on 2 September in manacles and under guard. His family have only seen him briefly, but reported they could see evidence of beating on his face, feet and around his eyes. He was beaten by guards during his transfer from court to a detention centre and was later moved to Fashafiyah prison on 30 August.

Karen, an Armenian Christian who is studying pharmacy at university, was originally arrested in December 2017 after taking part in student protests against the regime. He spent 17 days in detention, during which time he lost 15 kilograms (2.3 stone) in weight.

Karen faces a number of political charges, including “promoting Christianity and anti-Islamic activities”. At a pre-trial hearing on 28 August, Karen’s lawyer requested that he be granted bail, as he has a congenital heart condition for which he has previously undergone surgery. However, the judge refused the request. Karen was ordered to be transferred to jail until his trial date.