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French photographer dies in hospital following tear gas attack

EPA photographer Lucas Mebrouk Dolega
EPA photographer Lucas Mebrouk Dolega


(RSF/IFEX) - 16 January 2011 - RSF has learned that French photographer Lucas Mebrouk Dolega has succumbed to his injuries following a tear gas attack by Tunisian police in which he was deliberately targeted, according to the organisation. Dolega passed away at Tunis' Rabta hospital on 17 January 2011.

The 32-year old photographer worked for European Press Photo Agency (EPA).

"Our thoughts are with Lucas Mebrouk Dolega's family, his girlfriend, and his friends," said RSF. "The circumstances leading to this tragedy must be brought to light, and the investigation must examine the possibility of an intentional attack by police forces. We will support any legal action brought forth by the victim's family, should they decide to pursue that course.

"This is the first French photographer to die in the line of duty since 1985, and the first foreign journalist to be killed in Tunisia," the organisation added.

Dolega, who arrived in Tunis on the eve of the revolution, was covering demonstrations in front of the Interior Ministry building, on 14 January at about 2:00 p.m. local time, when he was hit by a tear gas canister between his temple and left eye. He was immediately taken to hospital, where doctors were able to operate on him later that afternoon.

"This is terrible, it's a crime, a genuine murder," EPA colleague Horacio Villalobos told RSF.

"Prisoners of conscience must be freed, but the truth around the crimes and abuses perpetrated during the jasmine revolution must also come out before rule of law can be completely restored in Tunisia, after 23 years of dictatorship," said RSF.

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