Iraq Moves Toward Amnesty

Pending law would allow release thousands of detainees
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2007 10:52 AM CST
An Iraqi army soldier, left, ties a blindfold on a detainee being held at the fifth Iraqi army division base, as other blindfolded detainees wait. The Iraqi government has approved a draft amnesty law...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Iraqi cabinet has framed an amnesty law that would release tens of thousands of suspected insurgents being held without charges. The amnesty, the result of months of negotiation, now goes to the parliament, which will begin debating it Sunday, the BBC reports. The number of prisoners held, estimated at 50,000, has soared since the US troop surge began.

Amnesty is seen as an important step on the road to reconciliation between the Sunni and Shia communities. "Generally speaking, we are looking at this step as an indication of the government's good intentions," a Sunni parliament member told Reuters. Iraqi authorities hold about 24,000 captives and the US 26,000. It's unclear how many would be released under the amnesty.