Husband to accept peace prize for Margaret Hassan

 

The Iraqi husband of murdered aid worker Margaret Hassan will arrive in Ireland this week to accept the country's most prestigious peace prize on her behalf.

Irish-born Mrs Hassan (59) spent nearly half her life delivering food and medicine in Iraq, where she had lived for 30 years.

She was kidnapped in Baghdad in October last year and a month later a video of her apparent murder was released, although her body was never found.

Tasheen Hassan has accepted an invitation to receive the Tipperary International Peace award on Friday April 15th as part of the Tipperary International Festival of Peace being held over the weekend, spokesman Martin Quinn confirmed.

The Baghdad-based economist, who married Mrs Hassan in 1972, will receive a specially commissioned Waterford Crystal Award from the Peace Convention Committee.

A Peace Convention statement said: "In honouring the life of Margaret Hassan, the Peace Convention recognises her tireless work for the Iraqi people over 30 years, which she dedicated to the poor and vulnerable and to those who were most in need in her adopted country."

Margaret Hassan first became involved in the Middle East in the 1960s when she worked in the Palestinian refugee camps. She spent many years living and working in Iraq, and from 1991 worked for aid agency CARE International.

During her captivity, Tasheen made a series of emotional appeals for his wife's release, while premiers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern both made direct pleas to her kidnappers. Her murder sparked international condemnation.

After her death, CARE International described her as "an extraordinary woman". In a statement, the aid agency said: "Through her courage, tenacity and commitment, Mrs Hassan assisted more than seventeen million Iraqis living in the most difficult of circumstances. "Everyone who met her was touched by her personality and compassion."