June 15, 2004 – US authorities released 400 Iraqi detainees from Abu Ghraib prison on Monday. The military has promised to release one thousand more detainees before it hands partial sovereignty over to the US-appointed caretaker government on June 30, but said they will continue to hold some 4000-5000 prisoners after that date, without due process, because those captives have been deemed "a threat to the coalition." The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today called on the US military to release all prisoners in custody on June 30th, in accordance with the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions, both of which address the repatriation of war prisoners. "If we consider that the occupation ends June 30, that would mean itâ€™s the end of the international armed conflict," Nada Doumani of the ICRC argued from Baghdad.
Detainees released Monday were taken by bus to central Baghdad and given $25 for a cab ride home. "It feels like getting out of hellfire into heaven," Ali Majid, 34, a former pilot detained for two months after being picked up in a military sweep, told the Associated Press about leaving the horrors of Abu Ghraib.