September 27, 2003 by

Aqila al-Hashimi

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Categories: Politicians

Aqila al-Hashimi, who was one of three women appointed by the U.S. to Iraq’s interim governing council, was assassinated at the age of 50. She was shot during an ambush in Baghdad on Sept. 20 and died of her wounds five days later.
al-Hashimi was born into a prominent Shi’ite family in the holy city of Najaf. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in law in Iraq and studied for her doctorate in French literature at the Sorbonne.
Just before Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein declared war on Iran in 1979, al-Hashimi joined the Foreign Ministry as a French translator. She refused to marry or wear the veil and became an advocate for women’s rights. A self-described technocrat, al-Hashimi worked as an aide to the former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz and ran the country’s oil-for-food program.
The only member of Hussein’s government to be tapped for the new governing council, al-Hashimi changed her allegiance when the coalition forces took over Iraq in April. She was planning to travel to New York to serve as the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations when gunmen shot up her two-car convoy.
“She was an indefatigable fighter for the people of Iraq, and especially for the women of Iraq. She gave her life so that they could have a better future,” said Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

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