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Volume 707: debated on Monday 2 February 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the relevant authorities concerning persons detained without trial in Iraq by the Government of Iraq and United States forces; and whether timetables have been established for reviewing and releasing all detainees. [HL858]

The Government of Iraq took a significant step in 2008 to address the slow processing of cases by implementing the Iraqi Amnesty Law which has since helped enable around 12,700 releases. Iraqi security operations throughout 2008 meant an understandable increase in numbers held and it is estimated that approximately 26,000 remain in Iraqi detention awaiting processing or trial.

The Ministry of Justice has pledged to make detention centres more efficient by speeding up paperwork, introducing rehabilitation and vocational training and addressing overcrowding. Arrangements for US-held detainees are covered separately under the Iraqi/US Status of Forces Agreement under which the relevant Iraqi authorities may request assistance from the US forces in detaining or arresting wanted individuals. There are currently around 15,000 in US detention but it is expected that the number of US-held detainees should be reduced under this agreement.

The Government recognise that the current levels of detainees needs to be greatly reduced and we will continue to closely monitor the situation, making representations as necessary. We shall also continue to assist the Iraqi authorities where possible to implement effectively the amnesty law and required judicial processes.