US military hands over 39 detainees to Iraqi authorities

December 17th, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Dec 17 (Xinhua) The US military said it has handed over 39 detained former members of Saddam Hussein regime to the Iraqi government. “The detainees were all transferred from the Coalition theater internment facility at Camp Cropper in Baghdad to an Iraqi-controlled prison,” said a military statement Wednesday.

It said that the detainees are either already convicted or are to be tried by Iraq’s High Criminal Court.

The military said that the transfer comes “in recognition that Iraqi criminal courts and prison systems have become sufficiently robust to safeguard and prosecute these individuals in accordance with the rule of law.”

There are still 15,500 detainees in US-run prisons in Iraq, the statement said, adding that the number is down from about 26,000 in November 2007.

It said that about 18,000 detainees have been released since the beginning of 2008.

The transfers were made under a security pact Iraq signed with the US authorities that will come into force next month.

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