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More than 100 freed from US-led prisons in Iraq

At least 103 detainees held without charge in US-run prisons in Iraq have been freed over the past few weeks after an Iraqi committee found them innocent.

world Updated: Aug 21, 2007 05:09 IST

At least 103 detainees held without charge in US-run prisons in Iraq have been freed over the past few weeks after an Iraqi committee found them innocent, a senior Iraqi official told AFP on Monday.

The detainees, some of them foreign Arab nationals, were set free after their cases were studied by the Committee to Review Detainees in Multinational Forces' Prisons, a panel set up by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in May.

"We have released 103 detainees who were held in the prisons run by multinational forces in Iraq," said Basam Ridha, advisor to Maliki and member of the committee.

"These detainees were found to be innocent."

Ridha said the committee meets every week to study files of detainees and recommends the release of those who are "not guilty of terrorist or criminal activities".

"The committee studies 200 to 300 files every week of those who have been held for a long time," he said, adding the files of those suspected of any crimes are forwarded to the judiciary.

Around 18,000 detainees are held in US-run prisons at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq and Camp Cropper on the outskirts of Baghdad. Many have been held for more than two years without formal charge.

More have been detained since the launch of a major US-led crackdown in Baghdad and surrounding provinces earlier this year.

The United Nations and several international human rights groups have criticised the US and Iraqi authorities for keeping the detainees in custody without charge.