The family of the British aid worker Margaret Hassan says that the Iraqi man who was convicted of her 2004 kidnapping and murder has "gone missing and is no longer in prison".
Deirdre Manchanda, the sister of the director of Care International in Iraq, said yesterday that the family's lawyer had been told by authorities that Hassan's killer could not be found at the prison where he was awaiting a retrial. Ali Lutfi al-Rawi was sentenced to life in prison last year. He was granted a retrial after arguing that his confession had been coerced.
The new trial has been postponed while authorities try to determine whether al-Rawi was – as he claims – not in Iraq when Hassan was killed.
Iraqi authorities could not immediately be reached for comment. Mrs Hassan, 59, was abducted in October 2004. Her body has never been found.