Iraq holding 26,200 detainees, says minister
BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities are currently holding about 26,200 people in detention, including 782 minors and 422 women, Human Rights Minister Wejdan Mikhail said on Wednesday.
Mikhail made the announcement at a press conference in Baghdad where she cited the “most recent statistics” compiled by the ministry.
US forces are holding an estimated 12,800 Iraqi detainees after releasing some 3,000 people this year as part of a security pact signed in November that calls for all US troops to withdraw by the end of 2011.
Iraqi security officials expressed concern about the released detainees earlier this month after a streak of bombings in Baghdad and said they would be reviewing the files of many of those who have been freed.
Mikhail said conditions inside the prisons have improved over the past year but called on authorities to speed up their review of the files of the detainees in order to reduce overcrowding in the jails.
“The main problem with the prisoners detained by the American army is bringing charges against them and bringing them before Iraqi judges,” she said, adding that many of the detainees have never been charged with anything.
Under the security pact, detainees in US custody are to be released or have their files turned over to Iraqi authorities, and since the start of the year US and Iraqi forces have required warrants to conduct arrest operations. afp