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RSF launches petition for release of imprisoned journalists

(RSF/IFEX) - 24 May 2010 - Today, the 19th anniversary of Eritrea's independence, Reporters Without Borders issues a reminder that around 30 journalists are imprisoned in this Horn of Africa country and launches a new appeal for their release.

"No one can celebrate Eritrea's liberation without thinking of the dozens of journalists who are in prison there," Reporters Without Borders said. "They are the victims of the insane policies of a president who, by grabbing power and suspending freedoms, has for years been thwarting all the wonderful hopes his people had when they gave birth to an independent Eritrea in 1991."

The press freedom organisation added: "It is intolerable that journalists are being held incommunicado, without a trial, and in inhuman conditions that have already cost several of them their lives, just because they did their job. We appeal to the international community to put pressure on the Eritrean authorities and we urge them to free the prisoners without delay."

Reporters Without Borders issued a list of 40 "Predators of Press Freedom" on 3 May. They include Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki, who is directly responsible for the crackdown on journalists and the elimination of privately-owned media since 2001.

A previous petition, launched after the September 2001 crackdown, was signed by 4,204 people.

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