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Zarqawi group calls for Margaret Hassan’s release
by aljazeera.com
Saturday Nov 6th, 2004 5:51 AM
"We call on those responsible for her captivity to release her unless she is proven to be a collaborator" with the U.S. occupation forces, the statement said. It also said that the kidnappers were obligated to release any poof they might be holding against her...It also harshly criticized Hassan's kidnappers for saying that they would turn her over to Zarqawi's group, adding that if they did so, "we will release her immediately unless she is proven to have conspired against Muslims".
Zarqawi group calls for Hassan’s release – Website
11/5/2004 11:00:00 PM GMT

Al-Zarqawi group urged the captors of Margaret Hassan in Iraq to release her.

A statement purportedly linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi group was posted on a website Friday, urging the captors of the British aid worker Margaret Hassan in Iraq to release her "unless she is proven to be a collaborator".

"We call on those responsible for her captivity to release her unless she is proven to be a collaborator" with the U.S. occupation forces, the statement said. It also said that the kidnappers were obligated to release any poof they might be holding against her.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

"If this (collaboration) is proven, they should show it clearly to people lest our religion is accused of things that are not true," the statement added.

It also harshly criticized Hassan's kidnappers for saying that they would turn her over to Zarqawi's group, adding that if they did so, "we will release her immediately unless she is proven to have conspired against Muslims".

"It's meaningless to try to outbid us as some ... did by saying that they would turn the captive Margaret Hassan over to us within 48 hours unless their demands are met," the statement said.

"Those using this captive as a bargaining chip do not truly know our religion ... (which states that) women not involved in combat should not be attacked," it said.

The statement also said that the group is "not a fan of war" or "enamored of bloodshed."

Hassan’s captors have demanded that British forces leave Iraq in exchange for Hassan’s life. The statement came just one day after the expiry of the deadline to turn Hassan over to Zarqawi's group.

Britain didn’t respond to the captors’ threat, which coincided with the redeployment of hundreds of British troops in risky areas near Baghdad, responding to a U.S. request, to allow U.S. soldiers to tackle resistance in Fallujah.

Margaret Hassan, 59, is an Irish-British-Iraqi woman who has been doing humanitarian work in Iraq over the past 30 years, including distributing medicine and food. She was abducted in Baghdad on Oct. 19.

Hassan's captors released a video on Tuesday in which they vowed to turn Hassan over to Zarqawi unless Britain withdrew all its 8,500 forces from Iraq within 48 hours.

Hassan is the eighth woman hostage to have been kidnapped in Iraq over the past six months. Others, including two Italian aid workers who were held for three weeks last month, and have been released unharmed.