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Iraq court convicts 1 for kidnapping CARE worker; 2 others freed

[JURIST] A Baghdad court has convicted one man but acquitted two others in connection with the abduction and murder of Margaret Hassan [BBC profile], the Irish-born aid worker kidnapped in Iraq in 2004 [JURIST report]. Mustafa Salman, charged with aiding and abetting the kidnappers after Hassan's purse and identification papers were found in his home, was sentenced to life in prison. Salman told the court he had been given a plastic bag containing Hassan's belongings by the sheikh of a mosque near Baghdad. Muhssin Ahmed and Qassim Muhammad, who were associated with the same mosque, were found not guilty and were released.

Hassan, who had Irish, British and Iraqi citizenship, was head of the Iraq office of the humanitarian group CARE International [advocacy website]. She was abducted in October 2004, and a videotape that surfaced the next month [JURIST report] appeared to show her being shot to death. Her body has not been found, and no group has claimed responsibility. On Monday, Hassan's relatives lashed out at the British government, calling officials' handling of the case "inept." Hassan's sister Deidre Fitzsimons told BBC radio [recorded audio] that the UK Foreign Office [official website] refused to interview the suspects to determine the location of Hassan's body. The Guardian has more. Aljazeera has additional coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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