More than 590 detainees have been released on Wednesday across Iraq, Iraqi state-run television reported.
It was the first group of detainees that have been released after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced on Tuesday that 2,500 Iraqi detainees would be freed on Wednesday or Thursday to help national reconciliation.
Maliki said the detainees would be released from U.S.-run detention centers and Iraqi custody after a special committee reviewed their cases.
The release came a few days after a leading Sunni politician Adnan al-Dulaimi demanded such a step to calm the ongoing sectarian violence.
According to the Iraqi human rights ministry, a total of 28,700 detainees were being held in Iraqi and U.S. prisons across the country up to April 30, 2006.
"Those who will be released will be people who are not loyal to ousted president Saddam Hussein or terrorists or anyone who stained his hands with the Iraqi people's blood," Maliki said.
"Those who committed killings or bombings will not be released, " he said, hailing the release as an important move to reach national reconciliation.
The release was seen as part of Maliki's efforts to secure a national dialogue and widen political participation of all the Iraqi factions, particularly Sunni Arabs, backbone of insurgency against U.S. troops and the U.S.-backed government.