Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Coalition Begins Releasing Detainees

Dispatches from the Front
In this file photo, detainees at the coalition detention facility at Camp Cropper play volleyball in February 2008. (U.S. Department of Defense photo by Spc. Michael V. May.)

Dispatches from the Front:

BAGHDAD, Feb. 3, 2009 -- Coalition officials in Iraq have started to release detainees in accordance with the security agreement that took effect Jan. 1.

The agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments requires all detainees to be released in a safe and orderly manner or transferred to Iraqi custody pursuant to a judicial order.

Multinational Force Iraq is scheduled to release up to 1,500 detainees a month, or about 50 a day. Those being released this month represent the first group of case files that were reviewed by Iraqi authorities under the security agreement, officials said.

“These are fair releases -- not mass releases -- of those detainees who MNF-I and the government of Iraq think no longer pose a threat to the security or stability of Iraq,” said Army Brig. Gen. David Quantock, commander of Task Force 134, the organization that handles detainee affairs for Multinational Force Iraq. “We are working very hard with the Iraqi government to ensure the releases are conducted in a safe and orderly manner to prevent disrupting the noticeable gains in security and stability enjoyed by Iraqi citizens.”

Multinational Force Iraq released more than 18,500 detainees in 2008. About 15,000 detainees currently are in coalition custody.

(From a Multinational Force Iraq news release.)

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