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Iraq releases detained anti-government protesters, appoints new general

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Iraq’s judiciary ordered courts on Sunday to release anti-government protesters, carrying out one of the first decisions of the recently inaugurated prime minister just as dozens of demonstrators burned tires in renewed protests against the new leadership.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi also promoted a well-respected Iraqi general, who played a key role in the military campaign against ISIS, to lead counter-terrorism operations. Former leader Adel Abdul-Mahdi had previously mysteriously demoted the general, prompting outrage and sparking popular protests in northern Iraq and Baghdad in October.

The Supreme Judiciary Council said in a statement that it had ordered the release of protesters detained since those demonstrations erupted, in line with the new prime minister’s call.

The council released detainees based on Article 38 of the constitution which guarantees the right to protest, “provided that it is not accompanied by an act contrary to the law,” the statement said.

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