Iraq releases three US contractors held in murder case
Two are still in custody. The case is seen as a test of the new agreement between the US and Iraq that allows Americans to be tried in the Iraqi legal system.
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However, Al Arabiya reports that the two men still in custody may face charges unrelated to Kitterman's murder. Judge Abdel Sattar Birakdar, spokesman for Iraq's Higher Judicial Council, told the Arabic satellite television station that "it was discovered [the two other contractors] committed another crime and investigations are ongoing with them."Skip to next paragraph
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According to Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, the two men still in custody are being held due to "drug issues," reports Reuters. Other reports indicate that authorities found evidence unrelated to the murder while searching their rooms.
Four of the contractors worked for the Corporate Training Unlimited (CTU) security firm and the fifth was staying with them, reports the Los Angeles Times. CTU, which trains businesses and officials how to operate safely in hostile environments, was run by a father-and-son team, Donald Feeney Jr. and Donald Feeney III. Since the two men's arrest, family members have spoken out publicly on their behalf.
The Feeney family has insisted that all five men are innocent. Feeney Jr.'s other son, John Feeney, said Sunday that his father had flown back to Iraq from the Philippines on May 22, the day Kitterman's body was discovered, and his brother and two of the other detainees were at an embassy party at the time the contractor was thought to have been killed. He described his father and Kitterman as close friends.
A weeklong investigation by Iraqi authorities and Federal Bureau of Investigation yielded no evidence that linked the men to the murder and authorities have no other suspects, said Mr. al-Dabbagh, the government spokesman, in an interview with The Washington Post. Those close to the contractors say that, at this point, much about their situation and the charges that could be leveled against them remains murky.
Sarah Smith, a spokeswoman for [CTU] … said that only Don Feeney Jr., the ... founder of the company, was being freed. Until now, she added, "nobody has made it clear why they were arrested in the first place or why they're being detained a week later."