Kenneth Bigley killed in Iraq
Kenneth Bigley killed in Iraq

The beheading of Kenneth Bigley, who had been held hostage in Iraq for 22 days, has dismayed those campaigning in Ireland for his release.

Mr Bigley, a Briton who was given an Irish passport on Tuesday, was shown in a video speaking as six militants stood behind him. One read a statement and then cut his head off with a knife.

The tape showed Bigley in an orange jump suit of the type worn by detainees in US prisons including the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The engineer, whose mother is from Ticknock in Dublin, was kidnapped along with two Americans who were beheaded soon after the abductions by militants led by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

After Mr Bigley spoke, one of Mr Bigley’s captors read a statement saying British Prime Minister Tony Blair had failed to meet the group’s demand for the release of women prisoners from US jails in Iraq.

Mr Blair’s government said it would not negotiate with kidnappers.

In a televised statement this evening, Mr Bigley’s brother Phil said this evening that the family had now received “absolute proof” that Kenneth Bigley had been executed. He asked the media to respect the family’s privacy and said Mr Bigley’s mother had said she would remain strong for the family. He also thanked all those who had prayed for his brother.

Earlier this week, Mr Bigley was granted an Irish passport in an effort to secure his release. A number of Irish politicians appealed for Mr Bigley’s release, including the Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

Tonight, the Taoiseach expressed his “shock and outrage” at the murder.

“The perpetrators have shown a total lack of mercy and humanity and in doing so have reached new depths of barbarism, “ the Taoiseach said.

“I am profoundly saddened by this murder of an Irish citizen and my deepest sympathy and the sympathy of the Irish people are with his mother, Elizabeth, his wife and family at this sad time.”

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP also expressed deep regret. Mr Adams said: “Mr Bigley’s plight has drawn enormous sympathy from around the world and especially here in Ireland.

“News reports of his murder has shocked everyone and our heartfelt sympathies are with the Bigley family at this difficult time.”

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