Man jailed over Hassan killing


An Iraqi man was jailed for life today for his part in the kidnapping and murder of Irish aid worker Margaret Hassan in Baghdad in 2004.

Ali Lutfi Jassar was arrested after attempting to blackmail the British embassy in Baghdad through a series of e-mails and phone calls. He offered Hassan’s body in exchange for $1 million (€700,000) and safe passage out of Iraq. The e-mails began on September 27th, 2007, the phone calls on October 22nd, 2007.

Ms Hassan (59) was born Margaret Fitzsimons in Dublin, but her family moved to Britain when she was a child. She held triple Irish, British and Iraqi nationality. Her father was an Irish Guard who served in the second World War.

Her siblings, Geraldine, Deirdre, Kathryn and Michael, have fought tirelessly to retrieve their sister’s body. They obtained transcripts of the alleged kidnapper’s messages to the British embassy, which have never before been quoted in the press.

“I am one of the people who participated in the operation of kidnapping and executing Margaret Hassan,” the first e-mail begins. “I have with me all the evidence proving this. Therefore I request securing of a channel of contact with the husband of Margaret, Tahsin Hassan, or with the British government in order that I can give you the true story of her killing. So I can pass on to you her corpse which I still have in my possession. Therefore I request your speedy reply as soon as possible. Thank you.”