[JURIST] A lawyer for Tariq Aziz [BBC profile], Iraq's deputy prime minister during Saddam Hussein's regime, said Wednesday that US troops are protecting "high-value" former Iraqi officials released from custody [JURIST report] earlier this week. Badee Izzat Aref said that 25 officials, including Dr. Rihab Taha al-Azawi [BBC profile] know as "Dr. Germ", had been released from custody and were being protected until they could "find a safe haven either in Iraq or abroad." Aziz remains in custody, though his legal team has petitioned for his release [JURIST report]. Aref said that as many as 40 additional high-level releases in the coming days. AP has more.