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Iraq tightens security, frees detainees before elections

[JURIST] The Iraqi government announced Sunday that it will enforce strict security measures for Thursday's parliamentary elections, including closing all borders, extending curfews and banning travel across provincial boundaries from Tuesday through Saturday. Meanwhile, US-led coalition forces and the Iraqi government released 238 detainees [Bloomberg News report] from Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive] and Camp Bucca [JURIST news archive] Sunday, bringing the number to well over 400 detainees that have been released in the last week. The election will be the first under the new constitution [JURIST news archive], which was ratified in October. Voters will choose a 275-member parliament to serve a full four-year term. Iraq’s leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatolla Ali al-Sistani [official website; JURIST news archive], urged his followers to vote in large numbers, while US officials hope to see a strong Sunni turnout embrace the election and calm the Sunni led insurgency. Most Sunnis boycotted the previous interim parliamentary election [JURIST report] in January, leaving them with few seats in the interim government. AP has more.

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