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IRAQ Judge reissues arrest warrants for British soldiers who escaped


Published: Sat, September 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.


He said he charged the two with homicide.
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- An Iraqi judge said Saturday that he reissued arrest warrants for two British soldiers captured by Iraqi police and who -- with the help of the British military -- escaped custody.
Their escape sparked widespread rioting in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city and considered one of the safest until this week. The conflict highlighted Iraqis' growing restiveness under foreign occupation.
And in Baghdad, top Shiite leaders denounced Saudi Arabia's foreign minister for saying that Iraq was disintegrating. They said that Iraq's undemocratic neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, were threatened by Iraq's burgeoning democracy.
The British soldiers, who were working undercover in Basra, were arrested Monday after allegedly firing at two Iraqi officers trying to detain them.
One of the Iraqi officers reportedly died. Later that day, British military vehicles surrounded the jail and broke down walls to rescue the soldiers. They found them in a house nearby.
Judge Raghib al-Mudhafar, the chief of the Basra anti-terrorism court, said Saturday that he charged the two soldiers with homicide.
But it's unclear whether the Iraqi courts have jurisdiction over the soldiers. Shortly before leaving the country in June 2004, L. Paul Bremer, then head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, signed an order giving multinational soldiers immunity from prosecution.


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