BAGHDAD ø The U.S. military has reduced the number Iraqi inmates
amid the uproar over allegations of abuse of Iraqi prisoners at a major
facility outside Baghdad.
U.S. officials said military authorities have reduced the number of
inmates at the Abu Gharib prison north of Baghdad, where military
intelligence interrogators were said to have abused Iraqi inmates.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, deputy commanding general for
detainee operations for the multinational forces in Iraq, said that over the
last week he ordered the release of 300 Iraqi detainees. Miller said he
expects the release of another 350 Iraqi inmates later this week.
officials said authorities have also released Iraqi inmates at other
over the last week, Middle East Newsline reported.
At a news conference on May 8, Miller said the Iraqis to be freed would
include those being held at Abu Gharib. But
he stressed that the facility would remain operational.
Officials said U.S. military authorities have decided to accelerate the
process of evaluating and freeing Iraqi inmates. They said many of the
inmates have already undergone interrogation and were deemed as not
presenting any significant danger to the U.S.-led coalition.
During his news conference, Miller, recently appointed to the
newly-created post in Iraq, said he would ensure that U.S. soldiers do not
abuse Iraqi prisoners. He said he has met with coalition personnel in the
prison system and demanded that they follow the Geneva Conventions and U.S.
Miller has been investigating the alleged abuses at Abu Gharib. Seven
U.S. soldiers were scheduled to be charged with abusing Iraqi inmates at the
detention facility, with the first trial to begin on May 19.
"The idea is to develop the best intelligence as rapidly as possible,
but within the requirements and boundaries of the Geneva Convention," Miller
Officials said the U.S.-led coalition operates 14 detention centers in
Iraq. They said Iraqi detainees undergo an initial assessment during
interrogation in an effort to obtain from the prisoners what they term
"actionable intelligence," information required by the coalition troops to
foil attacks. At a later stage, Iraqi prisoners would be directed through
the legal system.
Miller said the military would continue to interrogate Iraqis at Abu
Gharib. But he did not rule out that the coalition could decide to raze the