US Freeing Iraqi Detainees for Ramadan

50-80 Sunnis and Shiites will be released each day of holy month
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2007 3:37 PM CDT
Prisoners look out of their cell in the Rusafa 5 intake prison inside the new judicial Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007. The security crackdown in Baghdad has pushed up the number...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As Ramadan began, the US military today began freeing some of its 23,000 Iraqi detainees—between 50 and 80 will be released each day of Islam's holy month, Reuters reports. Military brass stress that Sunnis and Shiites alike will be considered for release. "This will be a completely non-sectarian, non-political process," said one US general.

The military says only prisoners who no longer need to be held for security reasons will be freed. The releases are part of a deal with Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, because many prisoners are Sunnis charged with insurgency against Shiites. Their imprisonment is a principal issue that led the main Sunni political bloc to quit the government last month.