BEIRUT

Middle East

Senior Iraq police officers jailed over prison breaks

In this Feb. 21, 2009 file photo, guards stand at a cell block at the renovated Abu Ghraib prison, now renamed Baghdad Central Prison and run by Iraqis in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

BAGHDAD: Iraq's Central Criminal Court sentenced six high-ranking police officers to five years in jail in connection with the escape of hundreds of inmates last year, a statement said on Wednesday.

The commander of the 4th Division of the federal police and its chief of staff were among those jailed for five years, the Higher Judicial Council said in the emailed statement.

And "a number of security and intelligence personnel from the division" received one-year sentences, it added.

Militants carried out well-coordinated assaults last July on Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, and Taji prison, north of the capital, with disastrous consequences.

Officials said more than 500 inmates escaped and over 50 prisoners and members of the security forces were killed in the violence, which was claimed by powerful jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria.

The assaults and jailbreaks highlighted the growing reach of militants and the worsening security situation.

The surge in unrest to levels not seen since 2008 has continued unabated, and anti-government fighters took control of all of one city west of Baghdad and parts of another at the beginning of the year.

Violence killed at least 6,818 people in 2013, and more than 1,500 so far this year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

 

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