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Iraqi Shi'a Protest Politician's Son's Detention

U.S. soldier in Al-Najaf (file photo) (AFP) February 24, 2007 -- Shi'a in several cities in southern Iraq protested today after U.S. troops detained for several hours the son of one of their most prominent leaders.

U.S. forces detained Amar al-Hakim at a border checkpoint as his convoy returned from Iran on February 23.

Amar's father, Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim, heads the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the biggest party in Iraq's government.

The U.S. military said al-Hakim and some of his bodyguards were initially detained because some of them behaved suspiciously at a border crossing used by weapons smugglers. The military described the incident as "unfortunate".

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad apologized, saying he did not know the reason for the detention.

Amar al-Hakim said he was treated rudely by U.S. forces.

An estimated 8,000 Shi'a protested in Al-Najaf and several other southern cities today.

(compiled from agency reports)

RFE/RL Iraq Report

RFE/RL Iraq Report

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