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US begins building Iraq correctional training center ahead of detainee transfer

[JURIST] The US-led Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF) [official website] announced Monday that it had begun construction [press release] of a training facility for Iraqi corrections officers (ICO) in anticipation of transferring control of MNF detention facilities to Iraqi forces. Military police commander Lt. Col. Bradley Graul said that the creation of the Tactical Operations Center at Camp Cropper "will not only enhance the continued care and custody of detainees, but it will begin the transition of United States transfer [sic] to the [Government of Iraq] while increasing their detention capabilities." More than 11,000 prisoners [JURIST report] currently held in three MNF camps at Camp Taji, Camp Cropper, and Camp Bucca are scheduled to be transferred by August 2010 in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) [text, PDF]. Central Baghdad Prison, formerly 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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