Thursday, September 13, 2007

U.S. begins daily releases of 50-80 detainees for Ramadan

Above: Detainees pledge not to commit crimes and to assist the government during a release ceremony at a Baqubah police station yesterday.

The U.S. military has begun releasing between 50 and 80 Iraqi prisoners a day as a gesture during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the military announced Thursday...

The U.S. military, working with the Iraqi government, on Thursday launched a venture dubbed “Operation Lion’s Paw” to expand detainee releases during Ramadan, the military said in a statement...

Such releases will continue through the end of Ramadan on Oct. 13, the statement said.

Read the rest at Army Times

Public Statement from MNF Command on Ramadan Releases:

Operation Lion’s Paw, the joint venture between the Government of Iraq and Multi-National Force – Iraq to expand detainee releases during Ramadan, will officially begin Thursday, Sept. 13.

Task Force 134, the MNF-I organization responsible for detainee operations, expects to release between 50 and 80 detainees per day during this holy month.

Maj. Gen. Douglas Stone, commanding general of Task Force 134, said all detainees eligible for release will be reviewed by an impartial release board to determine suitability for release during this period. The process will be fair, open to all detainees who are qualified and will reflect the detainee population, with Sunni and Shia detainees reviewed equally and impartially. “This will be a completely non-sectarian, non-political process,” said Stone. “The detainees being released are only those who MNF-I has determined no longer need to be detained for imperative reasons of security.”

Operation Lion’s Paw features Government of Iraq endorsement and support for several new initiatives launched by MNF-I Detainee Operations, who jointly developed new education, medical and judicial programs to ensure preparation of detainees for release and reintegration into society.

One of the key programs is the Pledge Program, which is designed to deter detainees from engaging in misconduct after their release and enhances the relationship between the Iraqi courts and Coalition forces by incorporating Iraqi judges into the detainee release process. “The development of the pledge release program was the result of an ongoing cooperative effort between Coalition forces and the Iraqi judiciary,” said Stone.

In support of this operation and in respect of the Ramadan observance, MNF-I will increase the number of detainees normally released to allow them to be home for the upcoming celebration. Releases will continue through the end of Ramadan, Oct. 13.

From MNF Command

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