family of murdered aid worker angry at British government

Submitted by jcravens42 on December 26, 2008 - 11:32am.

The family of Margaret Hassan, a murdered British aid worker, is angry because the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office is refusing to send an official from the British Embassy to attend the trial or give evidence. The office says such would be too dangerous.

Margaret Hassan was kidnapped on October 19, 2004, when two cars containing eight gunmen ambushed the aid worker as she was travelling to work in Baghdad. It is thought that she was murdered 15 days later near the farmhouse in Arab Jabour, a hostile stretch of palm groves and fields south of Baghdad, where she was held. Her remains have not been found. One of the accused kidnappers was arrested after allegedly attempting to trade information about the location for cash and a safe haven in Britain.

She was born Margaret Fitzsimmons in Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland and spent most of her early life in London, England. She married Tahseen Ali Hassan, an Iraqi studying engineering in the UK, and moved to Iraq with him in 1972, when she began work with the British Council of Baghdad, teaching English. She learned Arabic and became an Iraqi citizen, as was required of foreigners under Saddam Hussein's government. During the early 1980s Hassan became the assistant director of studies at the British Council; later in the decade she became director. Meanwhile, Tahseen worked as an economist. She remained in Baghdad during the 1991 Gulf War, although the British Council suspended operations in Iraq. Hassan joined humanitarian relief organisation CARE International in 1991, the aid group having established itself in Iraq during that year. By 2004 she was head of Iraqi operations for CARE. Well known in many of Baghdad's slums and other cities, Hassan was especially interested in Iraq's young people, whom she called "the lost generation". Her presence could draw large crowds of locals.

One of the comments on this story at the Times Online says, "she wanted to be an aid worker in a very hostile climate. The UK sank a lot of resource into her at the time and now the family are asking for more. we didn't ask her to go. in fact the foreign office would have advised her not to go there as it was unsafe, but she went anyway. no more from state"

Your thoughts?

Tags: Security
Submitted by syg205 on January 20, 2009 - 9:33am.

Shocking response in my mind. Aid work at time can seem like a fruitless activity (ie suffering, war, discrimination, etc, can appear cyclically in poor nations needing the work of aid workers) but to complete off a family because they dedicated their time and life to helping others is ridiculous.

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