Thursday, September 20, 2007


17 prominent Sadrists released from prison

Security, Politics
(Voices of Iraq) - Seventeen prominent members of al-Sadr movement, or those loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, will be released today from U.S. prisons in Iraq, Iraqi National Security Advisor Moqaffaw al-Rubaie said on Wednesday. "17 Sadrist detainees in coalition prisons will be set free in response togovernment efforts," al-Rubaie said during a news conference in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Refusing to reveal the identity of the released prisoners, al-Rubaie said, "I would not describe them as leaders, but some of them are well-known in their regions…"
"This is the fourth batch of Sadrist detainees to be released from coalition forces' prisons," he explained. At the beginning of the conference, al-Rubaie announced an initiative by the Iraqi government that aims at enhancing the performance of security and legal institutions and release detainees from Iraqi prisons, and warned political factions against politicizing the move for "sectarian purposes."
Describing his government's initiative for "enforcing the rule of law" as an attempt "to do justice to the detainees in Iraqi prisons and address their issues in accordance with human rights principles," al-Rubaie said that the Iraqi government is determined to take all necessary measures to improve the performance of its security and legal apparatus.
Al-Rubaie read out the details of the initiative to reporters, which he said urges all concerned state-run institutions, including the ministries of defense, interior, justice, and labor, to provide accurate information about the number of Iraqi detainees and prisoners. The information will be submitted to the Supreme Legal Council, the leadership of the Public Prosecution, and the Ministry of Interior, al-Rubaie indicated.
Acknowledging serious problems in Iraqi prisons and detention centers, the security advisor warned political factions of politicizing the government's initiative. "The government asserts that it is not a political issue. We should put political divisions and factional and sectarian allegations aside and undermine endeavors to make use of the initiative for political or partisan purposes," al-Rubaie noted.
COMMENT: It would appear that deals have been cut in the wings. One of al-Sadr's conditions for not turning on the government and to consider rejoining it were that imprisoned Sadrists be released. COMMENT ENDS.

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