Aid worker's killers threaten to release video of his execution

Red Cross appeals to Pakistan media not to broadcast Taliban film of Khalil Dale's death

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The Independent Online

The Red Cross appealed yesterday to the Pakistani media not to broadcast footage of the murder of the British aid worker Khalil "Ken" Dale, which his killers have threatened to release.

Efforts to repatriate the 60-year-old's remains were under way last night, after they were discovered on the outskirts of the south-western city of Quetta on Sunday morning. Sources said Mr Dale, a health programme manager, had let it be known that, in the event of his death, he wanted to be buried in Britain.

As tributes continued to pour in for Mr Dale, officials said they were working to repatriate his body as quickly as possible. It is unclear how long this might take. Sean Maguire, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which employed Mr Dale, said every effort was made to secure his release after he was kidnapped in January.

Officials in Quetta said a note was left with his corpse, saying: "This is the body of Khalil who we have slaughtered for not paying a ransom." It also said a video of the moment Mr Dale's throat was cut would soon be released.

Reports said that Mr Dale, pictured, who had links with both Dumfries and Manchester, was engaged to an Australian nurse, Anne, and they were to marry later this year. The Scotsman newspaper said both of Mr Dale's parents were believed to be deceased but that he had a brother, Ian, living in New Zealand.

Mr Dale, who converted to Islam more than 20 years ago, had worked as a staff nurse in the accident and emergency unit at Dumfries Infirmary before changing careers to work on oil rigs. He then switched to the aid world and served in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Apart from his work, he was said to be a talented photographer and had supported Friends of the Earth and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He was created an MBE for his aid work.

Sheila Howat, a friend and former colleague of Mr Dale's, who worked with him at Dumfries, said his death was "soul-destroying".

"Ken was an absolutely lovely person who saw good in everybody. He wanted to make the world a better place for people who had nothing," she added. "This is why he went to all the war-torn countries to try to make things better, particularly for the children.

"He knew the risks. He was quite aware of them."

Mr Dale was abducted on 5 January by eight masked, armed men as he was being driven home from work in a Red Cross vehicle. He was found at the weekend with his throat cut in an orchard outside Quetta. His body was wrapped in plastic and had a note attached.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said Mr Dale's murder was a "senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan and causing immeasurable pain to those who knew [him]".

Russell Brown, the Labour MP for Dumfries and Galloway, said: "Dumfries is a close-knit community, and has been left shocked by the death of Khalil. It is a terrible tragedy, made all the worse by its gruesome nature.

"The fact that someone could kidnap and murder a man who was in Pakistan to help people is an unspeakable act of barbarity.

"All our thoughts are with his friends and family as they hear the news they have been dreading every day since he was taken."