US hands Iraq high-profile prisoners

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

File:TariqAziz.jpg

File photo of Aziz from around 2003.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The United States today handed over 26 Iraqi prisoners, including Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein's former deputy prime minister to the Iraqi government.

The prisoners were held in at Camp Cropper, the US's detention facility in Iraq. Control of Camp Cropper is scheduled to be transferred to the Iraqi government in a ceremony on Thursday.

Aziz, 74, was sentenced to fifteen years of incarceration by the Iraqi judicial system for the 1992 executions of 42 merchants who profiteered.

According to Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim, 29 additional prisoners were handed over ten months ago. Ibrahim said, "As of today, we have received 55 former regime officials, the main one is Tariq Aziz, and the others are the oil and culture ministers."

Aziz's defense attorney Badee Izzat Aref told the Associated Press that Aziz feared the Iraqi government would execute him. Aref said Aziz told him that "[t]he Iraqi government will certainly kill me. I fear for my life. I expect I won't live except for days. I'm afraid they'll poison my food or won't give me my medicine to silence me. President Obama is no different from Bush, who has Iraqi blood on his hands."

Ibrahim asked the US Military to maintain custody of about 200 detainees for security reasons, including Sultan Hashim al-Taie. The Iraqi government will take custody of the remaining 1,800 prisoners held at Camp Cropper.

Sources

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