The Iraqi Deputy Justice Minister has admitted the convicted killer of Irish aid worker, Margaret Hassan, escaped from prison.

The announcement  comes as an embarrassment to the authorities as the man had escaped 11 months ago but the government had only been made aware last month. This embarrassment was compounded by the fact that the Hassan family made the escape public knowledge.

In 2004 the kidnapping and videoed interviews and shooting of Hassan prompted the evacuation of foreign staff from many of the international aid organization in place, in Iraq, at the time.

Busho Ibrahim, the Deputy Justice Minister said that last month they discovered that Ali Lutfi al-Rawi was missing. Al-Rawi had been waiting for a retrial. He insisted that he was not in the country at the time of Hassan's shooting and his retrial had been repeatedly rescheduled.

Ibrahim also revealed that Al-Rawi escaped with the help of prison guards. He said In all that time, we thought he was in prison."

Murdered Dublin-born aid worker, Margaret Hassan