The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]


Wow... the only word I can say is "Wow". Talk about a major PR coup for Iraq.
I guess people won't be able to use the "Saddam has political prisoners"
argument for now. I am so surprised by this. I wonder how long this will in whether he'll start locking people up again or not within a few
days. Wow...
Saddam Frees All Prisoners
Associated Press
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Oct. 20) - The Iraqi government announced an amnesty Sunday
for all Iraqi prisoners in an apparent attempt to rally domestic and
international support in the face of U.S. determination to topple it.

The government called the amnesty, which includes political prisoners, a way
of thanking the nation for re-electing President Saddam Hussein last week in
a referendum.

Iraqi television showed men leaving a prison carrying their belongings in
plastic shopping bags and chanting: ``We sacrifice our blood and souls for

A statement attributed to Saddam, read on national television by Information
Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhafa, said the ``full and complete and final
amnesty'' applied to ``anyone imprisoned or arrested for political or any
other reason.''

Amnesty International accuses Iraq of holding tens of thousands of political
prisoners and of torturing and executing its political opponents. There was
no figure available as to how many inmates the amnesty would involve.

Later, Interior Minister Mahmoud Diab al-Ahmed was seen supervising the
release. Some prisoners were heard pledging not to commit any crimes in the
future and others said they were ``ready to defend Iraq and the great

Those convicted of murder, the statement said, would only be released if the
victims' families agreed and those convicted of theft would have to work out
a way to repay their victims before being released. Soldiers accused of
desertion and those awaiting execution of their death sentences were included.

``We are shifting the responsibility of reforming them to their families and
society after we have provided them with this opportunity,'' the statement
said. ``We ask God that we will not regret this decision.''

The amnesty was intended to thank the Iraqi people for their support of
Saddam, who claimed a 100-percent 'yes' vote in a presidential referendum
last week, the statement said.

``It's a unanimity that others are incapable of believing and it is the
greatest truth of this age from this great, honest, warm people,'' the
statement said. ``The referendum honored us before the whole world.''

As al-Sahhafa completed his statement, Iraqi television switched to file
footage of Iraqis celebrating Saddam's elections victory, chanting his name
and pledges of support.

Iraqi exiles and the United States scoffed at Saddam's referendum and the
reported results. Saddam was the only candidate and Iraqis were asked to vote
``yes'' or ``no'' on whether he should serve another seven-year term. In a
country where dissidents face torture or death, according to exiles and
international human rights groups, assessing voters' sincerity is difficult.

President Bush has called for Saddam to be toppled, accusing him of
stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and harboring terrorists, and has
expressed concerns about its human rights record.''

The Iraqi regime had ``probably the worst human rights situation anywhere in
the world ... uses the death penalty, rape and torture as a political tool,''
said the British government report on human rights abuses around the world
released on Thursday. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been Bush's main
ally on Iraq.

10/20/02 08:32 EDT

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news
report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed
without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.  All active
hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]