Iranian hunger striker has heart attack outside US embassy

3 09 2009
Farzaneh Dadkhah

Malnourished: Farzaneh Dadkhah in an earlier collapse during the protest in Grosvenor Square over the fate of 3,500 Iranian dissidents at a camp near Baghdad
Emma Rowley

A woman on hunger strike outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square for more than a month has suffered a heart attack.

Farzaneh Dadkhah, 41, was last night in a specialist heart hospital amid fears that her prolonged period of starvation had triggered heart problems.

She is one of 12 people who were today on their 37th day without food, in a plea for international action to help thousands of Iranian dissidents housed in a camp in Iraq.

About 3,500 people live at Camp Ashraf, which was set up near Baghdad in the Eighties to house opponents of the Iranian regime.

Iraqi security forces entered the camp to take control on 28 July, leaving at least eight dead and hundreds injured according to Amnesty International.

Ms Dadkhah, who lives in London, was admitted to University College Hospital on Monday night after she began experiencing chest pains.

Doctors placed her on a drip of fluids, salts and sugar.

Azadeh Hosseini, spokeswoman for the protesters, said: “Farzaneh was just complaining of not feeling very well and then when they took her to hospital they checked her heart and said she might have had a possible heart attack.”

Nonetheless the Iranian mother-of-two is expected to return to the strike outside the embassy despite being severely malnourished.

“She is very determined,” said Ms Hosseini.

“She was in prison for many years inside Iran so she knows what could happen to people at Ashraf. She has put her health — and life — at risk.”



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