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Iran/Iraq: More Iraqi prisoners released

29-06-2000 News Release 00/24

Geneva (ICRC) – On 28 June, 450 Iraqi prisoners of war held in Iran were repatriated to Iraq under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The fourth such operation since the beginning of the year, it was carried out at the Mundharieh/Khosravi checkpoint, on the border between the two countries, under the supervision of ICRC staff. This brings the number of Iraqi prisoners released and repatriated this year to 3,389 (1,999 prisoners were released in April and two groups of 480 and 460 prisoners respectively were released in May). In accordance with the organization's usual procedures, ICRC delegates had registered the prisoners beforehand and spoken privately with each of them to make sure that they were returning home of their own free will.

This operation, the eighth of its kind, is part of a process started up in April 1998 with a view to repatriating all the remaining prisoners of war from the Iran/Iraq conflict who wish to return home and elucidating the fate of prisoners whose names had been submitted to the ICRC by the two countries.

Since the beginning of the process, 9,900 Iraqi prisoners of war have returned to Iraq and three Iranian prisoners of war and 369 Iranian civilian detainees have returned to Iran. During the same period, ICRC delegates have spoken with 6,700 Iraqi prisoners of war living in Iran who have said that they do not wish to be repatriated. The ICRC will continue to hold talks with both countries in order to complete the process as soon as possible.

Since the Iran/Iraq conflict broke out in 1980, the ICRC has supervised the repatriation of more than 97,400 prisoners of war held by both sides.