Obviously one reason for the release is that the US facilities are no doubt overflowing! Imagine that the occupiers have 25,000 in custody. Also, interesting is the last remark that 17 gang members are to be executed, just like that! Capital punishment with a vengeance.
500 Iraqis Freed From Crowded U.S. Detention Center
By CARA BUCKLEY
Published: November 9, 2007
BAGHDAD, Nov. 8 — Nearly 500 Iraqi detainees were released at a ceremony at a sprawling United States detention center in western Baghdad early Thursday, where they were urged by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to “start a new life, a different life from months ago.”
The ceremony, at Camp Victory in the dusty morning heat, marked one of the largest releases of Iraqi prisoners from American detention centers, which have become increasingly overcrowded since the American military buildup began in February.
In an interview, Mr. Maliki said he was also considering a general amnesty for most detainees.
“We are working on such a project,” he said moments after delivering a speech to rows of newly released detainees seated before him. “We are thinking of having a general amnesty except for those who have committed direct crimes against Iraqis, and against our infrastructure.”
The number of Iraqi detainees held by the American-led military forces has jumped to 25,800, from 16,000 in February, said Lt. Cmdr. K.C. Marshall, a detention operations officer.
Thousands more people are still detained in Iraqi prisons.
At Camp Victory on Thursday, several former detainees said that while they relished their release, they resented having been held at all. “I was detained in March 2007 for no reason,” said Tariq Jabbar, 25, a taxi driver from Zafaraniya, a neighborhood in southeast Baghdad.
Mr. Jabbar said he had been accused of attacking coalition forces with guns and improvised bombs, but insisted on his innocence, saying no weapons or the like had been found in his home. He said he had been treated well but had not been allowed to contact his wife or four children.
In a news release, the American-led forces said they were increasing the tempo of the releases to foster good will, but there is also pressure to free up space in the overcrowded prisons. About 6,300 detainees have been released so far this year, and the coalition forces say they have been releasing an average of 50 a day.
Commander Marshall said each of the released detainees had been screened by a review board and had to pledge to an Iraqi judge to uphold peace and behave well.
Also on Thursday, an American soldier died after being wounded Wednesday by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad, according to the military. The soldier’s name was not released.
In Baghdad, an Iraqi policeman was killed during an ambush, according to a hospital worker, and four unidentified bodies were found throughout the city, according to an official with the Interior Ministry.
In Mosul, north of Baghdad, a car bomb exploded, killing the driver and a woman nearby, a police official said. In Baquba, a city in troubled Diyala Province, American and Iraq forces found the remains of seven people in a house.
In Diwaniya, a city south of Baghdad, the security commissioner, Sheik Hussein al-Badri, announced that 17 gang members, some of them Iraqi policemen, had been sentenced to death for their role in an unspecified number of civilian and security force deaths.
Mudhafer al-Husaini contributed reporting from Baghdad, and Iraqi employees of The New York Times from Baquba, Diwaniya, Diyala and Mosul.