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US military still holding more than 11,000 Iraqi prisoners

[JURIST] The US-led Multi-National Force (MNF) [official website] in Iraq said Tuesday that it is still holding 11,057 Iraqi prisoners [press release] in three separate camps throughout the country. The prisoners currently held in the three US camps, Camp Taji, Camp Cropper, and Camp Bucca, will either be released or transferred to Iraqi authorities as the military works to transfer control of the prisons to the Iraqi government. Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq, is expected to be the first to close when the total prison population drops below 8,000. The other two facilities will close by August 2010, in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) [text, PDF] that went into effect in January and requires all US troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011. A fourth US-run prison, Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive], was transferred back to Iraqi control [JURIST report] in 2006 following the release of photographs depicting prisoner abuse by US military personnel.

In November, Iraqi human rights activists said they were concerned about the treatment of detainees [JURIST report] due to be transferred from US military custody to Iraqi authorities under the then-proposed SOFA. In August, the US military said that it has released more than 10,000 Iraqi detainees [JURIST report] over the past year. In November 2007, US military forces in Iraq released 500 detainees [JURIST report] at a joint ceremony with the Iraqi government at Camp Victory outside Baghdad.

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