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U.S., EU Call On Iran To Free Jailed Death Penalty Activist

Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi.

The United States and European Union on September 30 called on Iran to free Narges Mohammadi, a journalist and activist whose 16-year prison sentence was recently upheld by Iranian courts.

Mohammadi was arrested last year after launching a campaign to end the death penalty in Iran. She was sentenced to 16 years in prison in May for founding a movement against the death penalty, which was deemed to be an illegal splinter group.

"No one should be jailed for peaceful, civic activism," U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, noting that Mohammadi's health is "rapidly deteriorating" and she has been barred from communicating with her two young children.

"Given these circumstances, the imposition of this prison sentence is particularly harsh and unjustified and we call on the government of Iran to provide Mohammadi with adequate medical care and to release her on humanitarian grounds," Toner said.

The European Union also issued a statement saying Mohammadi's imprisonment "sends a worrying signal about the human rights situation" in Iran.

"Freedom of expression and peaceful advocacy of human rights should be protected, not penalized," the EU said.

With reporting by Reuters