[JURIST] American officials denied a claim Friday that they planned to release 12 high-ranking prisoners from the US detention facility at Camp Cropper [Wikipedia backgrounder] near Baghdad International Airport [GlobalSecurity backgrounder]. Iraqi lawyer Badia Aref had said that US officials planned to free the prisoners within two weeks, but that his client, former Iraqi Prime Minister Tariq Aziz [BBC profile], would not be among those released. Aref has been calling [JURIST report] for the release of Aziz due to his deteriorating health [JURIST report].
The US currently holds 65 high-ranking figures from the Saddam Hussein regime awaiting trial. There have been no releases since the US freed over 20 prisoners [JURIST report] in December, including two of Hussein's top weapons experts. Lt. Col. Keir-Kevin Curry, acting as a spokesman for the facility, said that the US had no plans to release high-value detainees any time soon. Reuters has more.