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Dozens of Iraqi Prisoners Freed From Abu Ghraib Prison - 2004-05-14


U.S. forces have released dozens of Iraqis from the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, a day after U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited the jail.

Several buses filled with detainees pulled out of the detention facility today (Friday), escorted by U.S. military vehicles.

The former inmates were the first of about 315 prisoners scheduled to be released as part of a months-old program aimed at cutting the number of inmates to between 15-hundred and two thousand by the end of next month.

On Thursday, Mr. Rumsfeld toured the Abu Ghraib prison, which has been at the center of the prisoner-abuse scandal, and met with U.S. military officials about conditions at the facility.

Mr. Rumsfeld told U.S. troops that photographs showing soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners have sullied America's reputation, but vowed that those responsible will be brought to justice.

Seven U.S. soldiers have been charged with criminal offenses in connection with the abuse. Courts martial have been announced for three and the military says its investigation continues.

Abu Graib is the largest U.S. - run detention facility in Iraq.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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