Fife father detained in Baghdad jail faces ‘imminent danger’ from ‘violent militants’, warns expert

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Concerns have been raised for the safety of a Fife man being held in a Baghdad jail over a small debt, with one criminal justice expert saying he will be locked up with “violent militants charged with terrorism”, placing him in “imminent danger” as a Westerner.

Brian Glendinning, 43, a construction engineer from Kincardine, Fife, was contracted to work on a BP refinery in Iraq.

But on September 12, reports show he was arrested on an Interpol “red notice” at Baghdad airport and has since been held in a police cell awaiting an extradition hearing.

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Relatives of the father-of-three said Mr Glendinning went to Iraq to earn money to take care of his family and his bills.

Brian Glendinning, who is being held in Iraq over a bank debt and facing extradition to Qatar,  with his son, Bailey. Photograph: Brian GlendinningBrian Glendinning, who is being held in Iraq over a bank debt and facing extradition to Qatar,  with his son, Bailey. Photograph: Brian Glendinning
Brian Glendinning, who is being held in Iraq over a bank debt and facing extradition to Qatar, with his son, Bailey. Photograph: Brian Glendinning

Radha Stirling, the founder of Ipex, an NGO seeking reform of Interpol and the extradition process, said Qatar National Bank seeks the extradition of Mr Glendinning from Iraq over a small bank loan.

But she warned his life could be in danger, saying: “Our immediate concern is for Brian’s safety; Iraqi prisons are notoriously harsh, horribly overcrowded, unsanitary, and breeding places of disease.

“The inmates are disproportionately violent militants charged with terrorism, and a Westerner like Brian is in imminent danger.

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“Next, there is the risk of Brian’s extradition to Qatar, where he would face two years in prison where conditions are not significantly better.”

Qatar, due to host the FIFA World Cup next month, has considerable influence in Iraq, Stirling said, and extradition is a near certainty unless concerted intervention is made on Glendinning’s behalf.

She added: “Unlike other Gulf States, Qatar maintains solid relations with Iran, which is the most influential player in Iraq, and Doha has entered into several trade and investment deals with the government in Baghdad. One of the major banks in Iraq, Al Mansoor Bank, is a subsidiary of QNB.

“Unfortunately, Britain’s influence in Iraq, in Qatar, and the Gulf overall, has dwindled over the past decade, as has the UK’s will to intervene in these countries on behalf of its citizens.

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“Qatar is pumping tens of billions of pounds of investment into the UK, and Qataris pour billions more into British real estate every year.

“We have seen government support for British expats in the Gulf steadily evaporating as Qatari, Saudi, and Emirati investment flows into the UK.

“There is no doubt that the FCDO can successfully intervene to secure Brian’s release, but we will need overwhelming public support to make sure that happens.”

Ms Stirling said Qatar has a history of wrongfully using Interpol notices “as a debt collection tactic akin to extortion”.

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“They wait for a customer to be arrested and hope the parents will dispose of assets and pay the debt themselves,” she said.

“The bank usually asks for substantially more than what was owed, knowing parents will pay anything to keep their children out of jail.”

She added: “We will make every diplomatic and legal effort to save Brian from extradition.

“We’ve helped Brits arrested in Spain [on an Interpol notice issued by Qatar], many times, the Czech Republic, Italy, Denmark, Ukraine and so on.

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“The police and court time is costly and the victim can be unfairly detained throughout the trial.

“It’s a human rights issue and clearly highlights Qatar’s intimate relationship with Interpol.

“With the World Cup coming up, Qatar should be mindful of rights attacks towards foreigners.”

John Glendinning, 39, has set up a fundraiser to support his brother’s wife Kimberly, son Bailey, daughters Heidi and Lexi and granddaughter Frankie.

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He said: “Brian is a hardworking man who has always put his family first.

“He is the life and soul of any family occasion or party, where he earns the name happy feet, given to his dancing skills.

“Anyone who meets Brian ends up calling him friend, much loved and well liked in the village of Kincardine where he was brought up and still lives today.”

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