Brian Glendinning: Tears of joy and relief for family of Fife dad who is freed from Iraq jail
Campaigners said Brian Glendinning, from Kincardine, was released on Sunday and is expected to return home to his wife and three children within days. His family has told of the emotional moment they spoke to him from his hotel, after weeks of worry that he’d be extradited.
Last week, the bank which is owed money issued a clearance note stamped by the authorities in Qatar saying they’re no longer pursuing extradition. His brother John who has tirelessly campaigned for his release said the family is hopeful that his exit visa can be sorted by the end of this week.
John who has tirelessly campaigned for Brian’s release told the Evening News that an anonymous donor stepped in and paid the majority of the debt, helping secure his release. Construction engineer Brian only discovered the arrest warrant meant he was on an Interpol red list when he was detained at Basra airport in September, on his way to start a new job.
Brian had agreed taken out a £20,000 loan with his bank in Qatar while working in Doha in 2016, but was not able to keep up full repayments when he lost his job on sick leave at home in Scotland. He had kept in touch with the bank but didn’t know he had been convicted of a crime. A crowdfunding appeal John set up to help cover legal bills has since topped more than £30,700 of a £40,000 target.
John said: "When I saw the message light up my phone that Brian was being released I was shocked. The emotions were through the roof. I cried like a baby. It was pure joy and massive relief. I got to call his wife and tell her the news. I heard his eldest daughter Heidi in the background. That noise will live with me forever.
"I called my parents to tell them the good news. My Dad was emotional, my mum couldn’t speak. Then later on Sunday I got to speak with Brian from his hotel room. "He thanked me and said he heard that I hadn’t stopped. But it’s what family does.
"When I heard about what he’d been through I couldn’t believe it. Some things nobody should ever have to see or experience. But that will be for him to tell, when he’s ready. He was shattered and ready for falling asleep but it was just so good to be talking to him and to see his face. Right up until about half an hour before his release, he was convinced he was going to be shipped to Qatar and into even worse conditions. He was in a crowded cell with terrorists and rats crawling over the bottled water.”
John believes it will take a long time for his brother to recover from his ordeal. He said: “He was nine weeks in that place, in horrendous conditions. We live nearby and will definitely keep a close eye on him. Everyone has a breaking point. For a while I know he had given up. I'm worried about this mental health, he’s been through hell. But we are all going to be there for him.”