Scottish man detained in Iraq over Qatar Interpol warrant. BBC Scotland talks with Radha Stirling
BBC's Good Morning Scotland discusses Brian Glendinning, a British engineer’s fight against Qatar extradition ‘a warning to World Cup fans’
Brian Glendinning’s case highlights peril for football fans travellinQatary are going through with this shocking arrest.
"Scot held in Iraq over unknown Qatari conviction" bbc.co.uk - 10/10/2022
A Scottish construction engineer has been held in police cells in Iraq for a month after being added to an Interpol list over a debt conviction in Qatar.
Brian Glendinning, 43, from Kincardine in Fife, did not know he was a wanted fugitive until he was detained in Basra on his way to a new job.
His family has called on the UK government to intervene.
They also warned football fans going to the World Cup next month to be aware of the risks in traveling to Qatar.
In 2017 Mr Glendinning, who is married with three children and one granddaughter, was sentenced in his absence to two years in prison for defaulting on a debt.
He had agreed to take out £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.
His family told how he was made redundant in 2017, while on sick leave at home in Scotland, but had kept in touch with the bank not realising he had been convicted of a crime.
Speaking to BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, his brother John Glendinning said: "I believe Brian did what most parents would do then - what money you've got coming in when you're unemployed you try to keep the house warm and feed the kids.
"But then in Qatar, I believe that's a crime to them. It's not just defaulting on a bad credit history as we do here in the UK."
He said it was devastating to hear his "big brother and best friend" had been detained in Iraq.
"He was petrified," his brother said. "He explained that they told him it was Interpol and he was on the red list for a warrant for his arrest from Qatar."
He said bank salesmen would target expats in Qatari hotels offering loans with low interest rates.
"It looks like they want you to default," he said. "Interest rates are extremely low but when you default they go through this process of doing this to families.
"They know that we are desperate. They know I would sell my house. I've already sold my car.
"My brother is getting treated like a crime lord. The loan should be paid, of course it should, but this is crazy."
'Is he coming home?'
In four weeks the legal bills have already reached £30,000.
Mr Glendinning has been moved to a police cell in Baghdad, where he has been allowed to see British Embassy staff twice.
He spoke to his wife and mother at the weekend.
"Nobody is sleeping, we're constantly thinking about Brian's mindset, constantly thinking is he coming home?" his brother said.
He added: "I think it's crazy that we're going to have British citizens in their barrel load heading over to Qatar in the next few weeks for the World Cup and I just want to give a message to them - think about where you're going."
In the past few days Radha Stirling, the founder of Detained in Dubai and IPEX, has taken on the case.
She has supported hundreds of people unfairly detained in or at risk of being extradited to the UAE and the Middle East.
These include Conor Howard, an engineer from Tranent, East Lothian. He was held in Greece in 2020, under an Interpol warrant, over a conviction for carrying a herb-grinder on a plane trip that stopped in Doha.
Ms Stirling said Mr Glendinning's case was a "nightmare" for the family but she was confident they would be able to bring him home.
She told BBC Scotland he had been "aggressively pursued" to take out a loan by his bank in Qatar, as is" standard practice" there.
'We will make every effort to save Brian'
"The problem with Qatar banks is when they want to pursue someone on Interpol to put pressure on the family to pay the debt, they add legal fees and charges to get the amount over the Interpol threshold, which is €15,000, then wait for that person to be detained and put pressure on their parents or their families to sell assets or use their life's savings to bail out their child," Ms Stirling said.
"We will make every diplomatic and legal effort to save Brian from extradition. It's a human rights issue and clearly highlights Qatar's intimate relationship with Interpol."
She added: "With the World Cup coming up, Qatar should be mindful of rights attacks towards foreigners."
Mr Glendinning's family has called on Prime Minister Liz Truss and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to help.
"We need them to talk to Qatar, to talk to Iraq," his brother said. "We need support for a British citizen who's not a criminal and who's been held like he's a criminal."
The Foreign Office said: "We are providing support to a British man who has been arrested in Iraq and are in touch with the local authorities."
A crowdfunding appeal set up by the family to help cover legal costs has already raised more than £11,000 of a £40,000 target.
It says: "Brian needs urgent help or risks extradition to Qatar where human rights violations are notorious and where it is likely he would never be allowed to leave.
"Even if he goes to prison in Qatar and serves his sentence, they will never let him leave until his debt is paid, but he won't be allowed to work or have a work permit."
Scot held in Iraq over unknown Qatari conviction, originally published at bbc.co.uk
Detained in Dubai: http://www.detainedindubai.org
Detained in Doha: https://www.detainedindoha.org
Radha Stirling: http://www.radhastirling.com
CLAN - Crypto Legal Advocacy Network - https://www.bitclan.org/
Due Process International: http://www.dueprocess.international
IPEX - Interpol & Extradition Reform & Defence Experts - https://www.ipexreform.com/