Good News For Iraqi Detainees

One of the amazing transitions in the fledgling Iraqi democracy is how prisoners are treated today compared to during the terrible Saddam years.

In this frame grab from an undated video released by the Iraqi government on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2007, Iraq’s Sunni vice president Tariq al-Hashemi visits prison inmates, as he promises them better treatment, during a visit to the crowded prison in eastern Baghdad, Iraq. Many of the prisoners, who were jammed into open wire cages covered with tarps, shouted out complaints of mistreatment and prolonged detentions. Tariq al-Hashemi, whose Iraqi Islamic Party is the moderate third of the largest Sunni bloc in parliament, said his group is working to improve conditions for the inmates and to free the innocent. (AP Photo/Iraqi Government)

Iraqi-American Haider Ajina sends the following news from Iraqi news agency Voices of Iraq:

Falluja police release 35 detainees
Anbar – Voices of Iraq Wednesday , 15/08/2007

Falluja, Aug 15, (VOI)- Falluja police released on Wednesday 35 detainees, all local residents of Falluja, after they were found having no involvement in acts of violence, a police source said.

“Falluja police department released, today afternoon, 35 detainees, all of them are from Falluja city, after an investigative judge cleared them from any involvement in acts of terrorism or violence,” an officer from Falluja department, who spoke on anonymity condition, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

The source added “interrogation is under way with hundreds of detainees held by the police department to set free the innocent and send those proved guilty to courts of justice.”

Over the last two years, Falluja police forces have been a target to attacks by elements from various armed groups. Scores policemen were killed or wounded while large numbers of them were obliged to quit job.

Early this week, 50 detainees were set free in Falluja after completing the interrogation.
Falluja, a Sunni city, is 45 km west of Baghdad.

Haider Ajina comments:

This is a prime example of the rule of law and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty at work. Suspects arrested questioned and then released when no evidence is found to exist against them. We consider this type of procedure and out come natural and expected.

This procedure and out come is very very new in Iraq. For the thirty years that the Baathists were in power very few of those arrested (especially those with no connections) were ever released. Often a black plastic bag with the body of the arrested appeared on the family’s door step.

Iraqis express frustration at the release of what appear to be known terrorist or criminals when released due to lack of evidence. Often the response is that these criminals and terrorists will eventually get caught red handed. Iraqis are realizing that rule of law societies pay this price to protect the innocent and that laws are to be obeyed and respected.

Remember, even Sadam him self was eligible to vote in Iraqi elections, while he was in jail because he was considered innocent till proven guilty of all the crimes he committed against the Iraqi people.

Regards,
Haider Ajina

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