35 foreign journalists held hostage in Tripoli

Ahram Online , Wednesday 24 Aug 2011

Journalists are held captive in a five-star hotel, surrounded by pro-Gaddafi forces

According to the Reporters Without Borders website, 35 foreign journalists trapped in Tripoli’s Rixos Hotel are held hostage on the first floor, prevented from leaving by forces loyal to Gaddafi who are in control of the area surrounding the five star hotel.

A CNN correspondent in Libya held captive at the Rixos, Matthew Chance, wrote on his Twitter account that the journalists there would “like to leave to a safer location and negotiate an exit, but … are being prevented from doing so.”

An Associated Press report described the hotel as a “$400-a-night prison, with a spa but no power or air conditioning, with candlelight but no romance. With the sound of machine gunfire outside and bullets whistling past the windows, smoke hovering over the Libyan capital.”

The guards roaming around the hotel with AK-47s denied Tripoli was falling to the rebels after gunshots were heard in celebrations of the rebels’ seizing of Gaddafi’s massive Bab Al-Aziziya compound.

In the Reporters Without Borders’ press release, the Libyan rebel council was urged to do “everything in its power” to ensure journalists can safely and freely cover the battles still raging between Gaddafi’s forces and rebels.


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