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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 January, 2005, 09:55 GMT
Peace honour for Margaret Hassan
Margaret Hassan
A video of Mrs Hassan's apparent murder was released in November
Murdered aid worker Margaret Hassan has been given the Tipperary Peace Prize in Ireland for her charity work in Iraq.

The Care International official had "paid the ultimate price for her dedication to the poor and vulnerable in Iraq", the prize's convention said.

Mrs Hassan was abducted in Baghdad on October 19. A video of her apparent murder was released a month later, but her body has never been recovered.

Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton are among previous prize recipients.

'Courage and commitment'

The award, Ireland's most prestigious peace prize, will be presented to 59-year-old Margaret Hassan's relatives at a ceremony in April.

The Tipperary Peace Convention said in a statement that the honour "salutes the extraordinary life of a Dublin-born aid worker".

"She showed extraordinary courage, tenacity and commitment in her concern for those who were living in the most difficult of circumstances."

During her captivity, UK prime minister Tony Blair and Irish premier Bertie Ahern issued direct pleas for Mrs Hassan's release and a special debate on the issue was held in the Irish parliament.

The aid worker held dual Irish and British citizenship but had lived in Iraq since the 1970s with her Iraqi husband, Tahseen.

She began working for Care International soon after it began operations in Iraq in 1991 and provided humanitarian relief to the most needy Iraqis in a professional career spanning more than 25 years.

Tipperary Peace Prize-winners:
Nelson Mandela
Bill Clinton
Mikhail Gorbachev
Bob Geldof
Senator George Mitchell

When she was kidnapped, Mrs Hassan had been head of the charity's operations in the country for 12 years.

Film-maker and friend Felicity Arbuthnot described her as "an extraordinary woman".

A funeral mass was held for her in Westminster Cathedral in London and an ecumenical service took place in Kenmare, Co Kerry, where Mrs Hassan's mother was born and where her sister Geraldine lives.

The Tipperary Peace Convention was founded in 1983 with the aim of promoting peace and rewarding people who make a noteworthy contribution to peace-related issues.

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