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Saddam Hussein to be handed over to Iraq
June 15, 2004 09:45 IST
The United States would hand over deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and other detainees to the new Iraqi government over the next two week, the country's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has said.
But US officials said they plan keep in detention up to 5,000 prisoners deemed a threat to the coalition even after the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty at the end of this month.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera television, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said Iraqi authorities expect to take possession of Saddam and the other detainees with the transfer of sovereignty.
"All the detainees will be transferred to the Iraqi authorities and the transporting operation will be done within the two coming weeks," Allawi said. "Saddam and the others will be delivered to the Iraqis."
He said the former Iraqi president would stand trial 'as soon as possible' but he gave no specific timeframe.
The spokeswoman of the International Committee of the Red Cross said coalition authorities must file criminal charges against Saddam or let him go when sovereignty is transferred to the Iraqi government.
Saddam was granted prisoner of war status after he was captured last December near Tikrit. Although he is alleged to have committed crimes against his own people, he has not been formally charged with any offence.