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Iraqi Official Expects Election Results Within Days  

A senior Iraqi official says the Iraqi government will soon announce the official results from last month's elections. Meanwhile, he also downplayed reports that the judge presiding over the Saddam Hussein trial is resigning.

A month has passed since Iraq held its first parliamentary elections under the country's new post-Saddam Hussein constitution. Faisal al-Istrabadi, Iraq's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, indicated that officials are close to finalizing the results.

"It's going to take a few more days to come to some conclusion as to the results," he said. "We, of course, have an international team, which is also in Iraq now. I understand that there will be some delay, until Thursday, perhaps, before their recommendations are published."

Al-Istrabadi told CNN's Late Edition program that, above all, the Iraqi government wants to ensure the election results are correct.

"I think the determination in Baghdad is to get it done right, not necessarily to get it done quickly," he said.

Meanwhile, al-Istrabadi addressed questions over reports that Rizgar Amin, the chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein, has quit.

"As I understand it, he has not resigned from the court," he said. "He has resigned or tendered his resignation as presiding judge over the trial, but not from the panel of judges. Again, I cannot confirm that, but that's what I've been told."

Judge Amin submitted his resignation Saturday, following criticism that he had let Saddam dominate the court proceedings.

Al-Istrabadi said he believes the judge's decision was not based on a concern for his own personal safety. Since the trial began in October, two of Saddam's defense lawyers have been murdered in Baghdad.

Al-Istrabadi also indicated that Judge Amin's resignation has not been accepted. Iraqi judicial officials are trying to persuade the judge not to step down.

Saddam is being tried for the 1982 killings of 140 people in northern Iraq after a failed assassination attempt.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military in Iraq says it has freed 500 detainees from Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison. A U.S. statement said those chosen for release were not guilty of serious crimes and had admitted their guilt.