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'Most wanted' Saddam loyalist freed

A former Saddam Hussein loyalist who was on a US military "most wanted" list in Iraq has been freed from jail after he was cleared of helping the former regime punish opponents by draining the country's marshlands.

Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad was 54th out of the 55 most wanted Saddam officials. He was a Baath Party regional chairman and militia commander from Anbar province.

A spokesman for the Iraqi High Tribunal, Judge Mohammed Abdul-Sahib Yaseen, said al-Muhammad was recently released from a prison just outside Baghdad, but gave no further details.

Al-Muhammad was captured in January 2004.

Saddam, a Sunni Muslim, drained 90% of Iraq's southern marshes to punish Shiites who lived there and rose up against his regime.

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