Franco-German photographer injured in Tunis dead: employer

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A Franco-German photojournalist wounded by a tear-gas canister while covering unrest in Tunisia died of his injuries Monday, his employer said.

"We got the official confirmation today that he died today at 1:30 pm (1230 GMT)," a spokeswoman for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) in Frankfurt told AFP.

Lucas Mebrouk Dolega, 32, was wounded Friday when he was hit by a police tear-gas grenade as he covered the street protests that triggered the downfall of Tunisia's strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Initial reports early Sunday said he was dead, but it later emerged he was "in a critical but stable condition".

According to colleague Julien Muguet the grenade was fired at point blank range and hit the journalist in the head. He underwent surgery at Tunisia's National Neurological Institute.

Mebrouk Dolega is the first foreign journalist known to have died in the Tunisian crisis, but rights groups say scores of unarmed civilian protesters were slain in the street battles that led to Ben Ali's ouster.

New Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi on Monday announced "total freedom" for the media and said a ban on the activities of the North African state's main human rights group had been lifted.

© 2011 AFP

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