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US Releases 1,000 Iraqi Prisoners at Baghdad's Request


The U.S. military says it has released about 1,000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison after Iraqi authorities requested they be set free.

In a statement released Saturday, the military said the release represented a major milestone in Iraq's progress towards democracy and the rule of law. It said the prisoners had been brought to Abu Ghraib from detention facilities across Iraq, and had been released over the last four days.

A U.S. military spokesman said the released prisoners were not guilty of serious or violent crimes such as bombing, kidnapping, torture or murder and have renounced violence.

The move, the largest prisoner release to date, followed appeals by Sunni representatives for the United States to release thousands of prisoners who have been languishing in jail for months without being charged.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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