COVID-19 Special Coverage
Iraq president urged to pardon insurgents
Iraq president urged to pardon insurgents

[JURIST] Sheik Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarrai, a prominent Sunni cleric of the Association of Muslim Scholars [backgrounder], urged President Jalal Talabani [BBC profile] on Friday to fulfill an earlier promise to pardon some 10,500 insurgents imprisoned by US forces. His remarks, stating that Talabani should not "obey and kneel to [US] pressure" was made during Friday prayers, only three days after US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official bio] visited Iraq and pressed newly elected leaders to maintain a US presence until Iraq's own forces strengthen. President Talabani, sworn in two weeks ago, had suggested such a pardon as an attempt to reach out to homegrown militants. Lawmakers noted, however, that the statement was a personal opinion and it is unclear whether the new government, once formed, would support such a position. AP has more.