Mohammad Seddigh Kaboodvand

The United States has called on Iran to release Mohammad Seddigh Kaboodvand and the other 90 journalists who are being held in Iranian prisons.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, invoked Kaboudvand’s name on Thursday under the Free the Press Campaign. According to Nuland, Kaboodvand, who has been in jail since 2007, “was reporting on torture in Iranian prisons and now finds himself in one himself, and also on human rights abuses against Iranian Kurds.”

Nuland went on to say that in 2008, the Iranian journalist was sentenced to 11 years in jail on charges of “acting against national security and propaganda against the state.”

She added that the United States takes this opportunity “to call on the Iranian government to release Kaboodvand and some 90 other journalist it’s currently holding in Iranian prisons.”

According to Kaboodvand’s family, the jailed journalist has suffered several heart attacks in prison.

Kaboodvand was the head of the Kurdistan Human Rights Defence Organization and director of the Payam-e Mardom newspaper. He was arrested in 2007 and held in solitary at Evin Prison for more than six months.

In 2009, he was awarded the Hellman-Hammett international award and the annual British Press Award.