News Column

US Hands Over Last Iraq Prisoner

Dec. 16, 2011
Saluting soldier

The Obama administration says it's turned over the last remaining prisoner being held by American forces in Iraq to the Iraqi government.

The prisoner, Ali Musa Daqduq, a Lebanese suspected of being a Hezbollah operative, is accused of helping orchestrate a January 2007 raid by Shiite militants that killed five American soldiers, The New York Times reported.

One of the soldiers was killed immediately, and four others were kidnapped and later shot and dumped beside a road, the newspaper said.

Families of those victims were notified Daqduq was being transferred to the Iraqi police, the administration said.

"We have sought and received assurances that he will be tried for his crimes," Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said.

"We've worked this at the highest levels of the U.S. and Iraqi government, and we'll continue to discuss with the Iraqis the best way to ensure that he faces justice."

Republicans had called for Daqduq to be brought to the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to face a trial for war crimes before a military commission.

But Guantanamo is such a negative symbol in the Middle East the Iraqi government would never consent to Daqduq being taken there, Vietor said.

"To be blunt, a transfer to Gitmo was a nonstarter for the Iraqi government," he said.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2011

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