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ML-Iraq 02-17 Web

Detainees down to 14,500

The U.S. military says the number of detainees held in Iraq has dropped to 14,500 as it speeds prisoner releases and transfers to Iraqi custody to meet the requirements of a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement.

The military said in a statement today that it has been releasing 1,500 detainees a month — 50 a day — to meet the requirements of the agreement that took effect Jan. 1.

Under the U.S.-Iraq agreement, American forces in Iraq can no longer hold suspects without charge as they have done since the U.S.-led 2003 invasion. The agreement requires the American military to hand over detainees wanted by the Iraqis and release the rest.

The overall number of detainees has fallen from a peak of 26,000 in 2007 to 14,500 this month.

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