US hands over last Iraqi prison, keeps 200 ‘mysterious’ inmates
Iraqi authorities will now take control of around 1600 detainees at the Camp Cropper detention center close to the capital Baghdad.
The move signals the final stage of preparations for US troops to fully withdraw from Iraq.
Seven years of US invasion saw thousands of people, including media representatives, detained and held without charge for years, according to an Amnesty International report. Cases of abuse were disclosed in 2004, which triggered a mass outrage among Iraqis and most likely contributed to the rising insurgency at that time.
Under a bilateral security agreement signed in 2008 America lost its right to detain Iraqis and was obliged to fully withdraw by end of 2011.
The US will, however, keep 200 inmates, though the majority have not been identified. Some are believed to be linked to Saddam Hussein’s last government, Andrew Gilligan of Britain's Daily Telegraph and who worked as a reporter in Baghdad when the US-led invasion was launched in back in 2003, told RT.
“Some of them are high-ranking members of the regime. We know that some of Saddam Hussein’s ministers are being held, some of the foreign diplomats, and some of the military commanders who fought the war. But we really know very little and they are the last remaining American black-hole of detainees – we know roughly who is held in Guantanamo Bay, we know who is in custody in Afghanistan, we still don’t know who these people are.”