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Report: Three Eritrean Journalists Die in Prison

A new report says three Eritrean journalists have died at a harsh prison camp after years in detention.

Media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders says an investigation confirmed that journalists Dawit Habtemichael, Mattewos Habteab and Wedi Itay all died in the prison camp of Eiraeiro.

The Paris-based group says the three men had been held since late 2001, when Eritrean officials arrested prominent journalists during a crackdown on independent media.

Reporters Without Borders says it based its finding on "new eyewitness accounts" from the camp, after getting reports from sources in Eritrea and prison guards who fled the country.

The group said Habtemichael and Itay died from medical conditions made worse by lack of medical treatment, while Habteab succumbed to what it called the camp's "appalling conditions."

It did not provide dates for when the reporters died.

Their deaths could not be confirmed, and there was no immediate comment from Eritrean authorities.

Journalists' groups have repeatedly denounced Eritrea for suppressing media outlets and freedom of speech. Reporters Without Borders calls the country "Africa's biggest prison for journalists."

It reports that other journalists arrested in 2009 are being held at the Adi Abeito military prison, where they are denied medical care and are subjected to electric shocks, beatings, and solitary confinement.
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