Jailed Iranian journalist Ehsan Mazandarani is in a life-threatening condition after suffering a heart attack earlier today.
Mazandarani, who was arrested in November 2015 and sentenced to seven years in prison, has been suffering from severe health problems as a result of a prolonged hunger strike and being held in solitary confinement for four months.
“Ehsan’s condition got worse in his cell, and he passed out,” his brother-in-law, Sam Hosseini, told Journalism Is Not A Crime. “At first, his cellmates thought it wasn’t serious and that he had fainted because of his low blood pressure.”
Hosseini said that since his arrest, Mazandarani had often lost consciousness due to a drop in blood pressure. But this time, Evin Prison’s clinic could do little to help him.
“The doctors found out he was in danger, and they had to send him to a hospital outside of prison, because they couldn’t do anything there.”
Mazandarani was transferred to Sina Hospital in Tehran where he underwent an electrical cardioversion.
“After the electrical cardioversion, Ehsan’s heart rhythm is back to normal,” Hosseini said.
Hosseini, who lives in Germany, received the devastating news from his sister, Mazandarani’s wife, who is with her husband at the hospital.
”I was on the phone with my sister, and I could hear my mother and sister crying in the background. I felt terrible because I couldn’t do anything. I’m very worried and sad,” he said.
Shortly after Sam Hosseini spoke to Journalism Is Not A Crime, news emerged that Mazandarani’s mother-in-law had suffered a heart attack too.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrested Mazandarani, the managing editor of the newspaper Farhikhtegan, in early November 2015, along with three other journalists, Afarin Chitsaz, Saman Safarzai and Isa Saharkhiz, and a brother of a journalist, Davoud Asadi. They were all accused of being part of an “infiltration network” conspiring with “hostile” Western governments.
Mazandarani was according to his family in good health when he was arrested. But due to the harsh conditions he is being held under, he has started to suffer from a range of health issues, including lung, intestine and trachea infections, as well as kidney problems.
After being held for months, Mazandarani’s trial began on March 7 at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court. In April 2016, the judge sentenced Mazandarani to seven years in prison on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” and “spreading propaganda against the regime.”
On May 17, Mazandarani went on hunger strike to protest against the brutal conditions under which he is being held. Due to his declining health, he was sent to hospital on Wednesday, June 1, but returned to prison after one day.