In June 2006, an Iraqi named Mustafa Salman al-Jibouri, who had been caught with Ms Hassanís personal effects, was given a life sentence by a Baghdad court.
The sentence was reduced to 18 months on appeal. Jibouri testified that Sheikh Hussein al-Zubayi, a wealthy Baghdad cleric and a member of the hardline Sunni Muslim Scholars Association, gave him Hassanís handbag and identity papers.
Jibouri also had large quantities of syringes, drugs, identity papers and telephone SIM cards, strengthening the assumption that the kidnappers act as a mafia-style organisation.
Three men who were tried with Jibouri were cleared. Two were brothers of Jibouri, the third a brother of al-Zubayi and the caretaker of his mosque.
According to a report published by the Christian Science Monitorís correspondent Dan Murphy, US, Iraqi and Italian investigators believe Sheikh al-Zubayi was behind a series of kidnappings of women in Baghdad, including Ms Hassan and female journalists Giuliana Sgrena, Florence Aubenas and Jill Carroll.
The motive for the kidnappings appears to have been to raise funds for the Sunni insurgency. Al-Zubayi reportedly believed that videos recorded by women hostages had a greater effect on western public opinion.
Hassan family appeals to Iraqis for help in finding sister's body - The Irish Times - Tue, Jun 02, 2009