Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Detained Sadrists released in Karbala

(Voices of Iraq) - A number of detained Sadrists were released in the Shiite sacred city of Karbala after being arrested following the clashes that erupted two weeks ago between Iraqi security forces and gunmen near the Shiite holy shrines in the city while Shiite pilgrims were observing the birth anniversary of their 12th Imam, the governor of Karbala said on Tuesday.
"A total of 55 detainees from the Sadr movement were freed," Aqeel al-Khazaali told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). "They were arrested by security forces and proved that they were not involved in the incidents," he also said, noting that he would demand the release of all detainees that found not guilty.
"The investigation committee, assigned by prime minister to probe into the Karbala incidents, stopped arresting followers of Sadr in Karbala," Director of al-Sadr's office in the city Abdul Hadi al-Mahmadawi said. He told VOI earlier "the investigation committee called on me and told me that the arresting campaign against the Sadrists stopped." He described the move as "a good step".
Karbala local authorities said that committee started its work on Monday, while the city's police chief said that his forces arrested more than 400, suspected of having involvement in Karbala clashes. Karbala witnessed a series of clashes between gunmen and police forces, where 35 people were killed and over 130 injured according to the Iraqi defense ministry's estimates.
The clashes took place in Karbala while the Shiite city was receiving hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims heading to the shrines of imams al-Hussein and al-Abbas as a prelude to celebrating the birth anniversary of Imam al-Mahdi. Karbala is 108 km southwest of Baghdad.

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