Tags: Iraq | Promises | Release | Female | Prisoner | 'Dr. | Germ'

Iraq Promises to Release Female Prisoner 'Dr. Germ'

Wednesday, 22 September 2004 12:00 AM

Later Wednesday, authorities said a corpse was found with its decapitated head in a black plastic bag in western Baghdad. The identity was not immediately known, but its discovery came a day after the militants claimed in a Web posting to have killed the second kidnapped American, Jack Hensley.

Earlier, the Justice Ministry announced that Iraq and coalition officials had decided to release Rihab Rashid Taha on bail. Taha, a scientist who became known as "Dr. Germ" for helping Iraq make weapons out of anthrax, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a biotech researcher known as "Mrs. Anthrax," are the only two Iraqi women held in American custody, according to the U.S. military.

Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman, said he had no information about the release, announced by Justice Ministry spokesman Noori Abdul-Rahim Ibrahim. Johnson said a group of Iraqi male detainees had been previously scheduled to be released Wednesday from Abu Ghraib prison.

"There is an ongoing process that has been in place for some time to review the status of high-value detainees," he said. "All I can say is that this process continues."

Ibrahim said authorities were also considering whether to release Ammash, a former member of the Baath Party. "The release of Huda Salih Ammash is under study," he said.

The apparent decision came after Tawhid and Jihad, an al-Qaida-linked group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claimed Tuesday to have killed Hensley, saying U.S. forces had failed to meet their demands for the release of women prisoners. The claim could not be verified.

They warned that Kenneth Bigley, a British man taken with the two Americans a week ago, would be the next to die unless all Iraqi women are released from prison.

Ibrahim said there was no link between plans for Taha's release and the demands, though Bigley's brother Paul recorded a message Wednesday to the kidnappers, to be broadcast on Arabic-language TV station Al-Jazeera, urging them to release his brother in response to the expected release of one of the women prisoners.

"They need to see it on television. They need to see females walking free," he said. "Hopefully they will pick this up on the media and show that they have a gram of decency in them by releasing Ken."

Hensley and fellow American Eugene Armstrong were kidnapped Thursday with Bigley from a home that the three civil engineers shared in an upscale Baghdad neighborhood. Al-Zarqawi beheaded Armstrong, and the militants on Monday posted a gruesome video of the 52-year-old man's death.

The posting about Hensley's slaying came after the militants' 24-hour deadline for the release of all Iraqi women from prison expired and after anguished relatives in the United States and Britain begged for the lives of Bigley, 62, and Hensley, who would have marked his 49th birthday today.

"The nation's zealous sons slaughtered the second American hostage after the end of the deadline," the statement said. It was signed with the pseudonym Abu Maysara al-Iraqi, the name usually used on statements from al-Zarqawi's group. Claims on this Web site have proven to be accurate in the past.

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Later Wednesday, authorities said a corpse was found with its decapitated head in a black plastic bag in western Baghdad. The identity was not immediately known, but its discovery came a day after the militants claimed in a Web posting to have killed the second...
Iraq,Promises,Release,Female,Prisoner,'Dr.,Germ'
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2004-00-22
Wednesday, 22 September 2004 12:00 AM
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