U.S. apologizes for detention of Iraqi lawmaker's son

Friday, February 23, 2007

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Abdul Aziz al-Hakim is the leader of the Shiite party Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, apologized today to Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the largest political party in the Iraqi Council of Representatives, for the detention of his son.

"I am sorry about the arrest.We don't know the circumstances of the arrest and we are investigating ... but he is being released," the U.S. ambassador said.

Ammar al-Hakim, the son of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, is a cleric with an important position in his father's political movement. He and his six bodyguards were detained by U.S. troops near the border, while crossing into Iraq from Iran. All seven were released within 12 hours. A U.S. military spokesman said more information would be released "as it becomes available".

A condemnation of the detention was delivered to the U.S. Department of State by al-Hakim's party SCIRI. The party suggested on affiliated TV stations that protesters might be sent out onto the streets to show opposition to the arrest.