Iraq Asks U.S. to Free Six Iraqi Women Prisoners

An Iraqi government commission has asked the United States to free six of the eight female prisoners in military detention. Coincidentally, a terrorist group is threatening to kill Jill Carroll, an American journalist, if these women are not released.

Iraq has asked U.S. authorities to release six of the eight Iraqi females in military custody but not as part of a bid to free a kidnapped American female journalist, a government official said Thursday. Militants holding 28-year-old Jill Carroll have demanded U.S. authorities release all Iraqi female detainees or else they would kill the freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, who was kidnapped Jan. 7 in Baghdad.

The U.S. military has said eight Iraqi women are in military detention. An Iraqi government commission reviewing detainee cases recommended to U.S. authorities on Monday that six of them be released. An official from the Human Rights Ministry, which sits on the commission along with representatives of the Defense and Justice ministries, said the call to free the women was not made in response to demands from Carroll’s kidnappers, who gave authorities until Friday night to free the women. “There was no outside pressure on the commission” to recommend releasing the women, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisal from insurgents. “This recommendation came after we studied the women’s files provided by the American military.”

The timing is, to say the least, awkward.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.