[JURIST] The Iraqi government sent a draft bill to the speaker of Iraq's parliament [JURIST news archive] Tuesday which could allow for the pardon and release of around 5,000 detainees currently held in Iraqi prisons. The bill, approved [JURIST report] by the Iraqi cabinet last week, would exclude prisoners held in US custody and others who are imprisoned for a number of different crimes including terrorism, kidnapping, rape, adultery and homosexuality. The bill would also exclude senior figures of the former Baath regime [JURIST news archive].
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 covered by the bill are Sunni Arabs [IHT report] who have been held for more than a year on suspicion of supporting the insurgency. Despite criticism by Sunni members of parliament who say the bill is too limited, Iraqi officials have expressed hope that mass releases will help ease tensions between Shiite and Sunni communities. AP has more.