Former Detainees Released to Sheikh's Supervision
By Sgt. Ben Brody, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
JURF AS SAHKR, Iraq, April 2, 2008 After serving their sentences in U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, 25 detainees were released under the supervision of a local sheikh in Jurf as Sahkr on March 28.
Army Pfc. Jose Valentin guards former residents of Jurf as Sahkr, Iraq, just before their release from prison, March 28, 2008. Valentin is an infantryman with Company A, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, stationed at Patrol Base Jurf. Those returning to Jurf after serving their sentences swore to be responsible citizens and work under the supervision of town leader Sheikh Sabah al-Janabi. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ben Brody
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Sheikh Sabah al-Janabi, captain of the Janabi tribe and leader of Jurf as Sahkr, said he is confident the men will return to peaceful, productive lives in the community.
“Almost all of the bad people here changed their mind, so we must give these men another chance to be good people,” Sabah said. “I will see that these men will serve Jurf as Sahkr, their families and the future of Iraq.”
The sheikh regularly meets with soldiers of Company A, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, who are based out of Patrol Base Jurf, a compound near the village center.
Army Capt. Eric Tisland, commander of Company A, welcomed the former detainees back into the village and updated them on the changes Jurf as Sahkr has undergone since they were last home.
“In the past seven months, violence in Jurf has fallen dramatically, thanks to the Sons of Iraq chasing out the terrorists and criminals,” Tisland told the men.
Sabah said he believes the men, some of whom attacked coalition forces and other Iraqis, will thrive under the new security conditions.
“This area was very difficult to live in a year ago. Everyone had to fight to survive, and the coalition forces didn’t know who was good and who was bad, so they arrested many people” he said. “The people now just want to forget the past; it was very bad.”
Also releasing detainees March 28 were two other units from the same brigade task force. Battery B, 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, released eight detainees in Hak, Iraq, under the supervision of Sheikh Kamil, tribal head of the Janabi tribe in the Anzio area of operations.
Meanwhile, at Joint Security Station Haswah, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, also released eight detainees under the supervision of several tribal leaders from the area including Sheikh Kaither and Sheikh Faleh.
(Army Sgt. Ben Brody is assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.)