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US now detaining 18,000 prisoners in Iraq

[JURIST] The United States currently holds some 18,000 detainees [JURIST news archive] in two US-run Iraqi detention facilities, Camp Bucca and Camp Cropper [Wikipedia backgrounders], the Washington Post reported Sunday, citing US military sources. In the past month, the US has increased security in Baghdad, leading to an additional 1,000 arrests. The detainees are considered "enemy combatants", similar to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], and are typically held for about a year. Some 8,000 of the current detainees have nonetheless been jailed for longer than a year and around 1,300 have been detained for two years. In 2006, the US military held fewer than 10,000 Iraqis.

A US unit commander and an army lawyer make the initial decision of whether a Iraqi civilian should be detained or released. The army creates a file for each detainee which contains any evidence that supports the initial belief the person is a threat. Every detainee's case is reviewed by a Magistrate Cell which hands down a decision to the detainee. After a detainee is held for 18 months, the Joint Detention Review Committee, comprised of Iraqis and Americans, determine whether the detention should continue. The Washington Post has more.

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