Hundreds of detainees in Iraq freed

Hundreds of detainees, many held for several months after being arrested by US-led occupation forces in Iraq, have been released from prisons, a US military officer said.

    US army says prisoners are no longer a 'security threat'

    "We no longer consider them a security threat to the coalition," said Colonel Jill Morgenthaler.

    She said a total of 494 prisoners, picked up in security operations, were freed on Tuesday, 272 of them from Abu Ghraib prison on the western edge of Baghdad. Abu Ghraib is one of the largest US-run prisons in Iraq and was a notorious centre under former president Saddam Hussein.

    Morgenthaler could not give specific details on how long the people had been held in jail, but she said the average term was three to six months.
     
    According to a US-occupation forces' estimate, about 8000 Iraqis are being held in the country's jails because they are considered a "security threat".

    Two days ago, 168 prisoners were also released from the Abu Ghraib prison, said Lieutenant Colonel Craig Essick. He estimated there were between 5500 and 6000 detainees at the prison.
     
    Human rights groups have complained that many detainees have been held in squalid conditions and that some of them have been mistreated.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says that between March and December 2003, its delegates visited and registered the identities "of some 10,200 prisoners of war and civilians deprived of freedom" held by occupation forces and protected by the Geneva Conventions. 

      

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.