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Iraqi convicted of killing UK aid worker escapes prison

Iraqi Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim disclosed Sunday that Ali Lutfi Jassar al-Rawi, convicted [JURIST report] last year of the 2004 kidnapping and murder of British aid worker Margaret Hassan [Times Online obituary; JURIST news archive], escaped custody last September. An investigation confirmed earlier this month that al-Rawi fled [Reuters report] almost one year ago from Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive], where he was serving a life sentence. The inquiry was conducted after several attempts to convene al-Rawi's retrial, secured on appeal, were rescheduled when authorities were unable to locate him. The trial, most recently set to begin Sunday, has now been postponed until September 19. The court may consider trying al-Rawi in absentia if he is not captured.

Hassan, who had Irish, British and Iraqi citizenship, was the director of the Iraq office of CARE International [advocacy website], where she worked with combating public health issues. After being kidnapped, a videotape surfaced [JURIST report] that appeared to show her being shot to death. Her body has not been found. In 2006, Mustafa Salman was charged, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for aiding and abetting [JURIST report] Hassan's kidnappers after her personal effects were found in his home.

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