[JURIST] The Iraqi cabinet passed a draft law on Wednesday that would grant a general pardon to "innocent" detainees held in Iraqi and US prisons in the country, according to an Iraqi official speaking to AFP Wednesday. Currently, there are more than 26,000 detainees held in US-run Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca and some 24,000 more held in facilities run by the Iraqi defense, interior and justice ministries. Most of the detainees are Sunni Arabs [IHT report] who have been held for more than a year on suspicion of supporting the insurgency. Iraqi officials have expressed hope that mass releases will help ease tensions between Shiite and Sunni communities. The draft law now goes to the Iraqi parliament [JURIST news archive] for its approval.
Earlier this year, the country's largest Sunni parliamentary bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front [BBC backgrounder], boycotted major government meetings in response to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's failure to respond to demands [JURIST report] that included pardons for uncharged security detainees. In October, Iraqi Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi urged fellow Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi and President Jalal Talabani to press the Iraqi parliament to pardon detainees [JURIST report] not classified as "dangerous elements" linked to the insurgency. AFP has more.