The British government says that a video apparently showing the murder of aid worker Margaret Hassan in Iraq seems to be genuine. Mrs. Hassan, who has Irish, British and Iraqi nationality, was seized by an unknown group in Baghdad on October 19. Her Iraqi husband Tahseen has made a plea for her body to be returned to him: “I beg those people who took Margaret to tell me what they have done with her. (If) They can’t tell me, they can call the helpline. I need her. I need her back to rest in peace.”
Margaret Hassan had lived in Iraq for 30 years and became director of Care International’s operations there following the 1991 Gulf War. The 59-year-old chose to stay during last year’s American-led invasion and told reporters she was “sad” that Britain was taking part.Following her kidnapping, many Iraqis, including patients at a spinal injuries hospital that she had helped reconstruct, staged a demonstration calling for her release. Back in Dublin, Margaret Hassan’s birthplace, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern accompanied her sisters as they made an appeal for her to be freed in early November.
Ireland’s foreign minister Dermot Ahern has now reacted to the video sent to al-Jazeera television showing a blindfold hostage believed to be Margaret Hassan being shot in the head. Ahern said he was “just totally devastated by what has happened” and said her family had “had to put up with ups and downs over the last number of weeks.” Last night in Kenmare in County Kerry where some of the family lives, the congregation was larger than usual for evening mass, as prayers were said for Margaret Hassan.