Saturday, December 20, 2008

Iraqi judge orders Baath party plot suspects freed - Yahoo! News

Iraqi judge orders Baath party plot suspects freed - Yahoo! News

BAGHDAD – An Iraqi judge ordered nearly two dozen officials freed after determining there was no evidence that they conspired to bring back Saddam Hussein's banned Baath party, Iraq's interior minister said.

Their release Friday came shortly after Iraqi officials began playing down the arrests of the officials from Iraq's three major security ministries and dismissing reports that they were believed to have been planning a coup.

Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani told The Associated Press that the investigating judge ordered the officials released "because they are innocent" of allegations they were trying to restore the Baath party, whose exiled leaders staunchly oppose the current government.

Earlier Friday, al-Bolani told reporters that the charges were politically motivated by those trying to undermine the interior ministry.

He said 19 were freed from custody and that charges were to be dismissed against the remaining four who were not in custody.I

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