Amnesty bill sent to Iraq's parliament speaker

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January 1, 2008 16:07

 
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The government sent Iraq's parliament speaker a draft bill on Tuesday for an amnesty for some detainees being held in Iraqi prisons, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said. The bill excludes those held in US custody and those imprisoned for a variety of crimes ranging from terrorism, kidnapping and rape to antiquities smuggling, adultery and homosexuality. It also excludes senior figures of the former Baath regime. If passed in its current form, the bill could see some 5,000 prisoners released, al-Dabbagh said. The Iraqi government has about 20,000 people in custody, while the US military holds about 25,000. Sunni parliamentarians have criticized the draft for its limited scope. They have argued that most prisoners are charged with terrorist crimes, rendering the bill ineffective. Some also fear referring the bill to Iraq's gridlocked parliament will actually delay prisoner releases.

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