Thousands of detainees released in Iraq

June 3rd, 2008 - 5:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, June 3 (DPA) Iraqi authorities announced Tuesday that they have released 81,397 detainees this week under a new amnesty while the US military said it had uncovered a massive weapons cache in a desert area in north-west Iraq. The detainees have been released from prisons run by Iraq’s government under the amnesty law that was passed by parliament in February.

Some 37,912 of the detainees were released on bail, judge Abdel-Sattar al-Bairaqdar, the spokesman for the high court council, told the state daily al-Sabah.

At least 24,534 people, who are wanted by the authorities, were given amnesty under the law, the judge said.

Legal committees are now looking into requests for amnesty filed by many detainees whose previous requests have been rejected. The new law gives the right of appeal.

Thousands of Iraqi detainees are also held in prisons run by the US military.

The passage of the amnesty law was hailed as a breakthrough that forms an important component of national reconciliation.

Iraq’s main Sunni Arab bloc, the Iraqi Accord Front, said passage of the law would speed up its return to the Shia-led coalition government and help heal sectarian divisions.

The US military said a massive cache containing weapons and ammunition was uncovered in an underground room Monday during a search operation in the Jazeera desert west of Samarra.

Information from a local Iraqi source led to the discovery of the cache, according to the military.

Meanwhile, nine people were killed and 50 injured in a suicide car bomb attack on provincial police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul Monday, Iraqi media reported.

Among those killed were four policemen and two children, Aswat al-Iraq (Voices of Iraq) reported.

A suicide attacker drove and detonated an explosives-laden car near a checkpoint outside the police headquarters.

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