A British engineer is in jail in Iraq and faces extradition to Qatar over missed repayments on a small bank loan, in a case meant to highlight the perils faced by those who travel to the Gulf state to world Cup.
Brian Glendinning, 43, who had been hired to work at a BP refinery in Iraq, was arrested on an Interpol ‘red notice’ at Baghdad airport on September 12 and has been in a police cell since that he is awaiting an extradition hearing.
The Qatari government has yet to file its extradition request, but Glendinning was told during his arrest that an Interpol notice had been issued by Qatar regarding missed payments, on which the family members said it was a £20,000 loan taken out in 2018 while working in the country.
Glendinning’s wife Kimberly, 39, a beautician, said her husband struggled to make the full payments after falling ill this Christmas and losing his job in Scotland, but monthly payments were still made at Qatar National Bank with whom he was in regular contact.
Radha Stirling, founder of IPEX, an NGO seeking to reform Interpol and the extradition process, said the use of a red notice for such a minor issue should be seen as a warning to football fans traveling to the World Cup, which begins in Qatar. November 20.
Stirling said Qatar had a history of abusing the Interpol system, whereby relatives of those targeted were often coerced into paying more than was owed in order to avoid their loved ones facing lengthy prison sentences. .
The case raises concerns that the slightest transgression by traveling supporters could be used as an excuse by the Qatari government to drive out British nationals once the finals are over.
Qatar is preparing to welcome 1.2 million visitors for the World Cup, including fans traveling to watch England and Wales. Former England captain David Beckham signed a lucrative deal to promote the final, a move his former Manchester United team-mate Eric Cantona called a “big mistake” given Qatar’s human rights record.
Stirling said: ‘We will make every diplomatic and legal effort to save Brian from extradition. Qatar is becoming a nuisance and costing taxpayers dearly.
“We have helped Britons arrested in Spain [on an Interpol notice issued by Qatar], several times, the Czech Republic, Italy, Denmark, Ukraine and so on. The time spent by the police and the court is expensive and the victim may be unjustly detained throughout the trial.
“This is a human rights issue and clearly highlights Qatar’s intimate relationship with Interpol. As the World Cup approaches, Qatar should be alert to abuses of foreigners’ rights.
Glendinning, a father-of-three and from Kincardine, west of Edinburgh, faces a lengthy prison sentence in Baghdad because Iraqi authorities fail to enforce the general rule that an extradition request must be made in 45 days following the arrest.
Her brother, John, 39, said: “Brian is a hardworking man who has always put his family first. He is the life and soul of any occasion or family celebration, where he deserves the name happy feet, given to his dancing skills. Anyone who meets Brian comes to call him a friend, much loved and appreciated in the village of Kincardine where he was raised and where he still lives today.