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Iraq PM to further restrict amnesty law

[JURIST] Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] said Saturday that he will seek to amend a 2008 amnesty law [JURIST report] because its application has allowed too many accused of corruption and terrorism to be released. Speaking before both Shia and Sunni leaders, al-Maliki said the law had been inappropriately changed from the version originally drafted by the government. He blamed a recent increase in violence [CSIS report] on some of those released under its current version, which he said allowed terrorists who did not directly commit a killing to receive a pardon. Al-Maliki has also said that a recent US release [AFP report] of more than 3,200 detainees has contributed to the rise in violence.

The Iraqi legislature passed the General Amnesty Law [text, HTM, in Arabic] in February 2008 as part of al-Maliki's effort to draw disaffected Sunnis into the national reconciliation and reconstruction process. In May 2008 Iraq's Council of Ministers amended the law [JURIST report] to exclude prisoners who had committed certain types of serious crimes, including terrorist activities against the state. In June 2008, a spokesman for Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council said the law had resulted in charges being dropped [JURIST report] against over 75,000 people with some 20,000 others being ordered freed from detention.

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