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U.S. military transfers 39 detainees of top Saddam officials to Iraqis
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16:31, December 17, 2008

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The U.S. military said that it has transferred 39 detainees of former members of Saddam Hussein regime to the government of Iraq two days ago.

"The detainees were all transferred from the Coalition theater internment facility at Camp Cropper in Baghdad to an Iraqi-controlled prison," said a military statement obtained by Xinhua on Wednesday.

It said that all the detainees were either already convicted or are due to stand trial in the Iraqi High Criminal Court.

The military said that the transfer comes "in recognition that Iraqi criminal courts and prison systems have become sufficiently robust to safeguard and prosecute these individuals in accordance with the rule of law."

Some 15,500 detainees are still the U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, the statement said, adding that the number is down from about 26,000 in November 2007.

It said that about 18,000 detainees have been released since the beginning of 2008.

Iraq and United States have signed a security pact, which will come into force by the beginning of 2009. The pact stated that the U.S. military in Iraq shall turn over custody of detainees to Iraqi government.


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