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Reyot Alemu

It was in Addis Ababa’s appalling Kality prison that Reyot Alemu learned that she had won the 2013 UNESCO world press freedom prize. She has been there since June 2011 serving a 14-year sentence(later reduced to five) on a charge of “participating in, promoting and communicating a terrorist act.” A columnist on political and social issues for the national weekly Fitih, she is one of the many journalists and government opponents who have been convicted on terrorism charges. A colleague remembers seeing her leave the Addis Ababa lawcourts, proudly clutching copies of her articles as evidence of her work. She has been let out of prison once, for an operation to a malign tumour, but was sent back to her cell immediately afterwards, with no chance of convalescing in fresh air.