Iraq Detainees Freed; 3 GIs Killed
FILE - In this May 30, 2011, file photo damage is seen in a devastated Joplin, Mo. neighborhood. A federal agency was set to release a report Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, detailing communication efforts ahead of the massive twister that hit Joplin, killing more than 160 people. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) / Charlie Riedel
Earlier, insurgents killed at least 10 people with a suicide bomb targeting police and government workers. At least six of the dead were policemen.
After a brief ceremony outside the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad, the 500 freed detainees left the area on public buses. They were the first of 1,000 to be freed before Ramadan begins next week, the U.S. military said.
Abu Ghraib gained international notoriety after U.S. military personnel running the prison were charged with humiliating and assaulting detainees there.
Arab governments often pardon nonviolent offenders during Ramadan. But the move this week also appeared to be part of a government effort to persuade citizens to vote in the Oct. 15 national referendum on Iraq's draft constitution, particularly the Sunni minority.
In related developments:
Approval of the constitution would be an important step in the country's democratic transformation. But many Sunni leaders and insurgents are calling for a boycott or a "no" vote in the referendum. They say the document would leave minority Sunnis with far less power than the country's Kurds and majority Shiites.
If two-thirds of voters in any three of Iraq's 18 provinces reject the charter, a new government must be formed and the process of writing a constitution starts over.
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