Iraq amnesty law freeing tens of thousands from charges, detention

[JURIST] A spokesman for Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council has said that the country's recently-enacted amnesty law [JURIST report] has resulted in charges being dropped against over 75,000 people with some 20,000 others being ordered freed from detention, according to Reuters Sunday. It was not clear how many prisoners have actually been freed. Abdulsatar al-Bayrkdar indicated that approximately 44,900 persons no longer facing charges had at one time been arrested but were now free on bail. Some 26,000 applications for amnesty have been rejected, however. Reuters has more. The latest figures are up from those reported in May [VOI report], when the spokesman was quoted by Voices of Iraq (VOI) as saying that charges had been dropped under amnesty against 24,472 people out on bail and 13,469 wanted but not yet arrested; the same spokesman said at the time that 11.476 detainees had been released along with 5,636 convicted prisoners.

The Iraqi legislature passed the General Amnesty Law [text, in English] in February as part of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's effort to draw disaffected Sunnis into the national reconciliation and reconstruction process. In May Iraq's Council of Ministers amended the law [JURIST report] to exclude prisoners who had committed certain types of serious crimes, including terrorist activities against the state. The pre-amendment amnesty law authorized the release of any prisoner who had not appeared before a judge within six years of the date of their detention.

 

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