Free press: Journalists released from 'hostage hotel'


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The Independent Online

After almost a week of being held captive by Gaddafi loyalists, a group of international correspondents was freed from the Rixos Hotel yesterday evening.

"Rixos crisis ends. All journalists are out!" tweeted Matthew Chance, a correspondent with CNN, after days of increasingly despondent messages as the battle drew closer to the formerly lavish hotel while food and water ran out.

But unexpectedly yesterday, the group was evacuated after their guards were disarmed. Arriving a short while later at another Tripoli hotel, they hugged friends, exhausted and in tears. The BBC's Matthew Price said they had feared for their lives at times.

On leaving what was one of the last Gaddafi strongholds, he wrote: "We drove out of the hotel compound into a completely different city than the one we had seen seven days earlier."