Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

US hands over prison to the government of Iraq

US Brigadier General David Quantock (R) hands Iraqi Minister of Justice Dara Nur al-Din a symbolic wooden key to Taji prison
Camp Taji holds some 3,000 "low level insurgents"

US forces have handed over a prison to the Iraqi government ahead of a planned withdrawal of troops.

The Jail at Camp Taji north of Baghdad holds 3,000 inmates, mostly "low level insurgents", the military said.

Only a small number of inmates have been convicted of a crime with most detained because of Iraqi government-issued arrest warrants.

The prison is a small part of a US military base, which will remain under American control.

The issue of prisons has been contentious since abuse was uncovered at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004.

The prison in Camp Taji was opened in 2008.

The US plans to halve its force of around 100,000 present in Iraq by August and pull almost all the rest out by the end of 2011.

The US military controls one other prison in Iraq, while all others including the notorious Abu Ghraib have been handed over to the Iraqis.

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