Iraqi government considering pardons for thousands of prisoners

The Iraqi government is considering pardons for several thousand people convicted of insurgency-related offenses as a move toward national reconciliation, Iraqi officials said Monday. As a first step, a committee is being formed to study the legal aspects, including what offenses might be excluded and whether any pardon would require parliamentary approval. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the move is in the preparation stages and has not been formally announced. But Sunni lawmaker Nasser al-Ani, who is in charge of President Jalal Talabani's office, said any pardons must be in line with the Iraqi constitution, which could require parliamentary approval.