The sister of murdered Irish aid worker Margaret Hassan claimed the man accused of the crime went missing before his retrial.
Ali Lutfi Jassar was jailed for life at Baghdad's Central Criminal Court last June for his part in her abduction and murder and for attempting to blackmail her relatives.
He was due to appear in court for retrial yesterday.
But Deirdre Manchanda, Mrs Hassan's sister, said she had been told that Jassar went missing from the Iraqi jail where he was held.
Mrs Hassan (59), the director of a humanitarian group Care International in Iraq, was taken hostage in Baghdad in October 2004 and shot dead just under a month later.
Mrs Manchanda explained: “We have just received the very disturbing news that Jassar cannot be located in the prison facility in which he was being held.
“The assistant director general of the prison has confirmed that he cannot locate him.
“Our lawyer in Baghdad expressed his concerns sometime ago about ALJ's non-appearance at any of the appeal hearings.”
The Dublin-born Catholic, who had British, Iraqi and Irish nationality, was married to an Iraqi and had lived in Iraq for 30 years.