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In 2001, while Saddam Hussein was still in power, Abu Ghraib may have held as many as 15,000 people. In October 2002, Saddam Hussein declared a general amnesty and all prisoners were released.
Soon after the American invasion of Iraq, the complex was relaunched by American occupation forces as a holding and detention facility. There were 5000 people held at the prison as of April 2004 when the infamous Abu Ghraib photos were released.
In May 2004, United States President George W. Bush stated that he planned to demolish the prison. Approximately a month later, U.S. military judge Col. James Pohl ruled that the prison was a crime scene and could not be demolished.
During the week ending August 27, 2005, nearly 1,000 detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison were released at the request of the Iraqi government.