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Iraq: Council Leader's Arrest An Isolated Case


BAGHDAD -- The arrest of an Iraqi insurgent who had renounced Al-Qaeda to lead one of Baghdad's Awakening Councils was an isolated case, a top security official has told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI).

The arrest sparked a violent confrontation between Iraqi security forces and Awakening Council members on March 28, leaving two dead and 13 wounded.

Awakening Councils, also known as the Sons of Iraq, are groups of former militants who have renounced Al-Qaeda and battle against them and other insurgents.

One Awakening Council leader, Mustafa Kamil Shabib of the South Baghdad Council, told RFI that councils "are concerned they will be prosecuted for their past" and hoped that council members will receive amnesty for past actions.

Shabib said Awakening Council leaders and government security officials will meet next week about the deadly incident.

Baghdad security plan spokesman Tahsin al-Sheikhly told RFI that "no one is above the law in the new Iraq" and said the March 28 arrest came from the judiciary, not politicians.
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