March 18th, 2008 08:02 EST
266 Detainees Released from Coalition Custody as Part of Lion's Dawn
CAMP FUTURE — Dr. Saleh Al-Mutlaq, the head of the Dialogue Front Group of Iraqi Parliament officiated a release ceremony for roughly 300 detainees at Camp Future March 15 with a message of national reconciliation and rejuvenation.
“I see in your faces and your eyes how happy you are, but your country is happier to see you back to help build it and build a new democratic Iraq,” said Al-Mutlak.
Also in attendance were Mr. Misha’an Al-Saadi, Mr. Ameer Muhamed, and Mr. Thamer Al-Hindy.
Release ceremonies are held once a month as a continuation of ongoing efforts by the Government of Iraq and Coalition Forces working together to foster goodwill and reconciliation. Individuals are only released when they are deemed to no longer be an imperative threat to Iraqi/Coalition Forces and the security of Iraq.
All detainee releases are conducted through a review board process where detainees have the opportunity to address their individual case personally. Prior to release, detainees also make a pledge to an Iraqi judge swearing to maintain peace and good conduct in the future.
“We are so happy to see you as free Iraqis going back to join your children, wife and your families,” said Al-Mutlak. “You need to prove to your community that you are good citizens and be a part of the national reconciliation.”
While in the Theater Internment Facility, detainees had the opportunity to participate in basic education courses, religious discussions, vocational training, work-for-pay programs and family advocacy programs allowing for hour-long family visitations approximately every three weeks.
Approximately half of the detainees will be released today while the remaining half will be released within the next several days.
There are more than 23,000 detainees in the care and custody of Coalition forces at two locations – Camp Cropper in western Baghdad and Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.
Since the beginning of 2008, a total of 2,901 detainees have been released. In 2007, 8,952 detainees were released.