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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iraq Pardons Prisoners

NICOSIA, Cyprus () -- Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has pardoned all political prisoners in a surprise gesture apparently aimed at quieting criticism of his human rights record and winning an end to crippling UN sanctions.

Sunday's general amnesty -- the second ordered by Saddam in eight days -- also covered suspected government opponents not yet convicted or even officially charged.

The decree followed a July 22 amnesty that spared mainly army deserters awaiting the severing of their ears or other body parts under Saddam's draconian laws.