U.S. military to release 100 detainees in Iraq
The U.S. military will release another 100 detainees Saturday, continuing a program timed to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
According to officials with Task Force 134, which oversees detainee operations in Iraq, the release ceremony will bring the number of detainees released under the Ramadan program to at least 1,300.
"Prior to release, detainees also make a pledge to an Iraqi judge swearing to maintain peace and good conduct in the future," a task force news release read. This process is a direct representation of the policy of fair releases, not mass releases, for the overall protection and security of Iraqi citizens and government.
There are currently around 18,900 detainees in the U.S. system at two locations, Camp Cropper in western Baghdad and Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.
So far this year, the U.S. has released more than 13,000 detainees, officials say. That effort is part of a larger effort to move the detention program into Iraqi hands. Much of how — and when —–that process will work will be determined by the ongoing status of forces agreement negotiations.
In all of 2007, 8,952 detainees were released from U.S. facilities in Iraq, officials said.
At ceremonies such as Saturday’s, those released from custody are people deemed no longer to be an imperative threat to Iraqi/Coalition Forces and the security of Iraq, the release reads.
An additional part of the task force’s efforts is explaining to troops in the field how the releases are conducted. Some soldiers have expressed frustration when people they detained are released back to their old neighborhoods.
The release process involves several steps: vetting when the detainee arrives at a facility; exposure to works, education and religious programs; appearances before release boards, and finally, transition out.