Iraq frees 4,000 prisoners in 2013: official

Updated 28 February 2013
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Iraq frees 4,000 prisoners in 2013: official

BAGHDAD: Iraq has freed 4,000 prisoners since the beginning of 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Al-Shahristani said Thursday, in an apparent bid to placate protesters in Sunni areas of the country.
Demands of the protesters, who have been demonstrating for weeks, include the release of prisoners they say have been wrongfully detained, and the ouster of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki.
Shahristani gave the figures at a ceremony marking the release on Thursday of 160 prisoners, and said that some freed prisoners can request compensation if they were not guilty of a crime.
Najeh Ali Shimmar, one of the 160 prisoners, told AFP he had been detained for almost 10 years without trial and is now looking forward to freedom.
“I am living a dream, and I won’t believe this until I get outside the walls,” said the 50-year-old father of two daughters.
Shimmar said he was arrested in October 2003 by US forces for violating a curfew in Madain, south of Baghdad.
“After two years, American forces handed me over to Iraqi forces,” who accused him of carrying out three murders during a time when he could not have done so, as he was jailed, he said.
“Investigating officers did not take my case to the judge for eight years. Even the judge was shocked when he saw me after all this period, and decided to release me immediately,” he said.
“I have been the target of a major injustice.”
Commenting on similar cases, Shahristani said that the “judiciary is now cooperating with us to end the cases and is easing procedures.”


Palestinian President Abbas hospitalized: Palestinian official

Updated 20 May 2018
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Palestinian President Abbas hospitalized: Palestinian official

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been hospitalized in the West Bank due to complications after minor surgery last week, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.
It was the third time Abbas, 82, had been hospitalized in a week. He underwent minor ear surgery on Tuesday and was hospitalized again briefly overnight on Saturday/Sunday, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.
A Palestinian official in Ramallah said Abbas went back into hospital again later on Sunday because his temperature was high “so doctors advised that he go back into hospital.”
Two statements were issued by Wafa on Sunday. The first, half an hour after midnight, said Abbas had gone into hospital “for a checkup to review the surgery that he had in his middle ear a few days ago at Al-Istishari hospital in Ramallah. At the end of the tests, the results turned out to be excellent,” the statement said, and Abbas left hospital.
A second statement carried by Wafa on Sunday afternoon reported the medical manager of Al-Istishari hospital, Dr. Saed Sarahneh, said the results of the medical tests were “good” and that his medical condition was “reassuring.”
A Palestinian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the high temperature may have resulted from a failure of an ear inflammation to heal completely.
In February, Abbas was hospitalized in the United States for medical checks during a trip to address the UN Security Council in New York.
Abbas became Palestinian president after the death in 2004 of Yasser Arafat. He pursued US-led peace talks with Israel but the negotiations broke down in 2014.
He is also chairman of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization, a position to which he was re-elected unopposed on May 4.