BAGHDAD (AP) – Two more U.S. contractors have been released from Iraqi custody, but two others remain in detention, the embassy said Saturday.
U.S.-backed Iraqi forces detained five Americans on June 3 in connection with an investigation into the stabbing death of a fellow contractor. But the Iraqi government has given conflicting accounts about the specific allegations against them.
Embassy spokesman James Fennell said the two Americans were released on bond late Friday, a day after a third contractor was freed.
All five remain under investigation, but Iraqi authorities told embassy officials that “the nature of the ongoing investigation does not involve the James Kitterman homicide but another unrelated matter,” according to Fennell.
Kitterman, 60, of Houston, was found dead in his car on May 22 in Baghdad’s protected Green Zone. He had been blindfolded, bound and stabbed.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have said the five detained Americans were not accused in Kitterman’s death but were detained in a raid that was part of the investigation into the killing.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh has said the five contractors have been cleared of any link to the slaying but separate investigations were under way on drug and weapons charges.
The case could be the first test of Americans facing Iraqi justice under a U.S.-Iraqi security pact that took effect on Jan. 1, which lifted the immunity that had been enjoyed by American contractors in Iraq for much of the 6-year-old war.
Corporate Training Unlimited, a Fayetteville, North Carolina-based security company, confirmed that its owner, Donald Feeney Jr., was freed on Thursday. But the other freed contractors were not immediately identified.