Lawyer: British aid worker's Iraqi killer may have fled

15th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

An Iraqi engineer convicted of kidnapping and killing British aid worker Margaret Hassan in 2004 is thought to have escaped from prison, a lawyer for her family told reporters in Baghdad on Thursday.

Ali Lutfi Jassar was sentenced to life on June 2 last year for his role in one of the most high-profile murders to follow the US-led invasion of 2003.

Lawyer Sarmad al-Sarraf said outside an appeal hearing at Baghdad Central Criminal Court that the director of Iraq's prisoner transfer system told the judge that the killer's whereabouts are unknown.

"We cannot tell you officially but, unofficially, this person probably excaped," Sarraf said the prison director had told the judge responsible for Jassar's case.

Dublin-born Hassan, whose body has never been found, had lived in Iraq for 30 years before being taken hostage in October 2004 and shot a month later in a crime that caused international revulsion and widespread Iraqi sympathy.

The 59-year-old was head of operations in Iraq for the humanitarian group Care International for around 12 years before she was pulled from her car by men in police uniform as she was being driven to work.

Lawyers for Jassar have claimed that an alleged confession put before the court of first instance had been extracted under torture.

© 2010 AFP

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