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Five Iraqi women prisoners to be freed for Jill Carroll

BAGHDAD, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Five Iraqi women prisoners whose release has become linked to the case of kidnapped American journalist Jill Carroll will be freed from U.S. custody on Thursday, a Justice Ministry official said on Wednesday.

Iraqi officials have been at odds with their U.S. counterparts over the release of the five, among eight women terrorism suspects in American custody in Iraq.

The Justice Ministry said last week that six women were about to be freed, but U.S. officials have insisted no releases are imminent.

Iraqi officials have suggested the delay in releasing the women was linked to the demands of the kidnappers of Carroll, who threatened to kill her by last Friday unless all women prisoners were freed.

The deadline passed with no word on the reporter's fate. The United States says it does not negotiate with kidnappers.

A Justice Ministry official said 424 prisoners would be released on Thursday.

"Five of the six women detainees will be among them. The five have completed their legal procedures, so will be released," the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters. He had no information on the sixth woman.

U.S. forces had no immediate comment.

The detention of women offends many Iraqis and U.S. forces seek to avoid it in most cases. The U.S. military is holding about 14,000 security detainees following the release of about 500 guerrilla suspects last week.

Carroll was kidnapped on a Baghdad street on Jan. 7 and her translator killed. Muslim leaders have joined her family, friends and colleagues in calling for her release.

Date posted: January 25, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 8