Iraq frees more than 300 prisoners
“In name of the Iraqi State, I apologize to those who were arrested and jailed and were later proven to be innocent,” Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani said on Monday.
A ministerial committee had been set up to decide on the release of 335 detainees who had served their jail terms or deserved acquittal due to lack of evidence.
The measures was seen as goodwill gesture in a bid to ease protests against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and head off a feared sectarian strife.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of demonstrators rallied in northern Iraq to express their support for al-Maliki and defend his government’s plans.
Demonstrators held up posters of the prime minister in Mosul — situated some 400 kilometers (250 miles) northwest of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad — on Sunday and chanted slogans in support of Maliki’s policies and his attempts to maintain national unity.
Iraq has been the scene of anti-government demonstrations since December 23, 2012, when the bodyguards of Finance Minister Rafie al-Issawi were arrested on terrorism-related charges.
Demonstrators allege that the arrests were made on sectarian grounds and demand an end to anti-terrorism laws. But the government says it is up to the parliament to decide on abolishing those laws.
On January 2, Maliki said Baghdad would use force to end the protests in Anbar Province, where protesters have blocked off a highway linking Iraq to Syria and Jordan. The Iraqi government says there are foreign agendas behind the protests.
About The Author
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.