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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 22:41 GMT 23:41 UK
Hassan makes appeal in new video
Margaret Hassan
Margaret Hassan appealed for Iraqi women to be freed from jails
The Arabic television station al-Jazeera has broadcast another video of kidnapped aid worker Margaret Hassan.

The station showed footage of Mrs Hassan asking for British troops to be pulled out of Iraq.

She also urged Care International, the aid agency she works for, to close its office in Baghdad, and appealed for Iraqi women prisoners to be freed.

Mrs Hassan, who is being held by an unknown group, was seized last week while at her Baghdad office.

Mrs Hassan, 59, has lived and worked in Iraq for 30 years and is married to an Iraqi.

She holds British, Irish and Iraqi citizenship.

Three demands

In the video broadcast on Wednesday, a confused-looking Mrs Hassan, wearing a black top, was shown in a dimly-lit room.

Close to tears, she spoke directly into the camera to repeat her message of a video issued last week, asking British Prime Minister Tony Blair to pull UK forces out of Iraq.

"Please don't bring the soldiers to Baghdad," the Associated Press news agency reported her as saying.

"Please, on top of that, please release the women prisoners from prisons."

Mrs Hassan also asked that Care International close its Baghdad office, presenters on Al-Jazeera said.

The BBC's Anita McVeigh said this request could shed some light on the nature of the group holding the aid worker.

Behind the demands

She said it could indicate that Mrs Hassan was being held by one of the more militant groups in Iraq which seek the collapse of all outside humanitarian help in the country.

However, she added, the latest demands could be the work of a group which wants money and is using the political situation to increase pressure on those seeking the aid worker's release.

The British Foreign Office said it would consider very carefully what, if any, response to make to the video.

The plea to Mr Blair came as hundreds of soldiers of 1st Battalion the Black Watch were being redeployed from the British-controlled zone of southern Iraq to positions close to Baghdad.

The request to free women prisoners echoes the demand made by the kidnappers of British hostage Ken Bigley in September.

Mr Bigley was killed earlier this month after several weeks in captivity.

Details of the new video of Margaret Hassan


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