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Iraqi Leaders Call For Amnesty Amid Scandal

L. Paul Bremer 8 May 2004 -- Local leaders from western Iraq today called on the U.S. civil administrator, L. Paul Bremer, to release all detainees as a goodwill gesture, following revelations that U.S. troops abused Iraqi prisoners.

Officials from the Sunni-majority Al-Anbad Province met with Bremer today at U.S. headquarters in Baghdad. They said many families of prisoners fear their loved ones are suffering similar abuse.

The leaders made the request a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld took responsibility and apologized for the abuse, and offered compensation to the victims:

"I am seeking a way to provide appropriate compensation to those detainees who suffered such grievous and brutal abuse and cruelty at the hands of a few members of the United States armed forces. It is the right thing to do," Rumsfeld said.

Bremer today called the abuses "outrageous" and said he hopes to carry out Rumsfeld's offer of compensation.

Bremer did not offer to fulfill the local leaders' request for an amnesty, however. He said 75 percent of the 43,000 people rounded up by U.S. troops since the invasion have already been freed.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military has charged a female soldier with abusing Iraqi prisoners, making her the seventh to face charges.