UK soldiers free detained comrades from Iraqi jail

[JURIST] British forces freed two British soldiers from an Iraqi jail Monday, though British and Iraqi officials are offering different accounts of what happened. The two freed British soldiers, thought to be undercover commandos, were arrested by the Iraqis earlier Monday [BBC report] for shooting two Iraqi policeman, one of whom died. Mohammed al-Walli, governor of Basra, said the men were removed through a barbaric raid on the jail that caused its destruction, and called Britain's actions irresponsible as they allowed 150 other Iraqi prisoners to flee. The UK Ministry of Defense [official website] has said the two men were released after negotiations between the UK and Iraq, and a British military official said the men were rescued because they ended up being held by Shia militia [MoD press release]. The arrests have sparked new debate over just how much sovereignty Iraq was granted after the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority [official website] handed over power to Iraq's interim government in 2004. Brigadier John Lorimer said that Iraqi law [CPA order 17, PDF] required that Iraq immediately hand over the detained soldiers to the Multinational Force [official website]. AP has more. BBC News provides additional coverage.

 

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