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Relatives await prisoners' release

Iraqi detainees wave to relatives Thursday as they leave the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.
Iraqi detainees wave to relatives Thursday as they leave the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A day after U.S. Iraqi civilian administrator Paul Bremer announced a plan to release Iraqi detainees, relatives on Thursday gathered outside the Abu Ghraib Prison in western Baghdad.

By early afternoon no prisoners had left the facility, prompting some families to leave in frustration and anger.

Hours later, two trucks carried dozens of detainees who had been freed as part of a planned release unrelated to the coalition program.

That coalition program requires low-level prisoners to renounce violence and obtain a sponsor in their communities to vouch for their conduct.

Coalition Provisional Authority officials told CNN, with about 100 detainees signing declarations and arranging for guarantors before their release, it could take some time to find to process the prisoners before they are allowed to go free.

Coalition official said the first detainees released would be the low-level contacts of Iraqi insurgents.

In the first week of the program, as many as 500 of the roughly 12,000 prisoners held at facilities across Iraq could be released, CPA officials said.

Paul Bremer said avenues also are being explored to provide greater family access to those being held by the coalition.

In addition to a plan to pay millions for higher-profile members of Saddam Hussein's regime, Bremer also announced a new rewards program for wanted Iraqis.

"We will offer up to $200,000 in rewards for information leading to the capture of lesser criminals or information that that person is dead," he said.

The names of those individuals and the rewards for them could be released by Thursday.

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