Five hundred prisoners walked free from the U.S. military's Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq on Tuesday, released in a goodwill gesture to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The detainees were presented with a Koran and $25 on their release which marked Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Their release was in addition to 1,000 prisoners set free in October at the start of the month of fasting.
All 1,500, who also received traditional white shirts, were released after their cases went before an Iraqi-led review board and were found not to have committed serious or violent crimes, the U.S. military said in a statement.
"These detainees have confessed to their crimes, renounced violence and pledged to be good citizens of Iraq," it said.
But the beat goes on:
U.S. forces are holding 13,885 detainees, including 5,074 at Abu Ghraib, behind barbed wire at several facilities across Iraq, up from a total of about 11,800 a month ago, a spokesman for the U.S. military's prison operations said.What could possibly be arbitrary about releasing prisoners who hace committed no crime, on the basis that they have renounced the violent crimes they didn't commit, and pledged to be good citizens of Iraq, which they presumably were before?
Iraqi critics say U.S. military detentions are too arbitrary and too long.
I'll retire to Bedlam.
(Caught by Nim, in comments at Eschaton)