BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi and U.S. authorities released 368 prisoners on Saturday as they continue to whittle down the number of inmates, the Justice Ministry said.
Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim said a total of some 2,721 detainees were released between June 7 through June 30, more than the 2,500 that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had promised would be freed.
He also said 495 inmates were released on July 1, leaving about 11,550 in American custody.
The prisoners were being freed after their cases were reviewed by a committee.
The U.S. military has not provided a sectarian breakdown of those being released, but most were believed to be Sunnis, the minority that was dominant under former President Saddam Hussein but lost power when he was ousted.
Sunnis frequently complain of random detentions and maltreatment at the hands of the Shiite-led government and the prisoner releases are seen as a key step toward soothing that anger and dampening the Sunni-led insurgency.