Four journalists die in prison: watchdog

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Four journalists have died in prison in Eritrea after spending years behind bars, the media watchdog Reporters without Borders (RSF) said. Eritrea is routinely labeled by watchdogs as one of the world’s worst offenders against human rights, but the Horn of Africa country rejects the allegations and often accuses rights groups of working for foreign intelligence services to undermine the government. “After several weeks of investigating reports from sources… and from prison guards who fled the country, RSF has been able to confirm that three more journalists Dawit Habtemichael, Mattewos Habteab and Wedi Itay have died in the northeastern prison camp of Eiraeiro,” the group said in a statement adding that all had been held since late 2001. “Another journalist arrested in February 2009, whose identity has not been established with certainty, has also reportedly died in detention in his case, in Abi Abeito military prison, near the capital, Asmara.” The group’s assertions could not be independently verified. Lacking independent media and often accused of harassing journalists, Eritrea is consistently ranked among the world’s top violators of press freedom.
(Agencies)