A Scottish engineer who was held in an Iraqi prison facing extradition to Qatar over a bank debt has been released, according to a human rights charity that had been campaigning for his freedom.
Brian Glendinning, 43, who had been contracted to work at a BP oil refinery in Iraq, was arrested on an Interpol red notice at Baghdad airport on 12 September.
Glendinning, from Kincardine in Fife, was informed on arrest that the Interpol notice had been issued by Qatar over an alleged debt owed to the Qatari National Bank.
Radha Stirling, founder of the Interpol and Extradition Reform (Ipex) initiative, said Glendinning’s family are currently arranging flights and it is hoped he could be home as soon as Monday night.
“Mr Glendinning’s lawyer Tahseen Alchaabawi gave us the good news this morning. It was an emotional moment for his family and I couldn’t be happier for the Glendinnings,” she said.
However, Stirling said Qatar had not confirmed if the Interpol red notice had been removed, so there could still be a risk that the 43-year-old could be arrested en route back to Scotland.
Stirling previously said Qatar had a history of abusing the Interpol system and that the use of a red notice in Glendinning’s case should be taken as a warning to football fans travelling to the country for the World Cup this month.
Glendinning’s brother John said he had lived in “vile” conditions in the Iraqi prison and his beard had grown as “there was only a single communal shaver in the jail and he wasn’t going to use that.”
He added: “He’s in the hotel. I’ve seen a photo of him with a beer and I’m so happy he’s free.
“It was really emotional for the family. Even our father teared up and he never cries. Kimberly (Brian Glendinning‘s partner), the children, they can breathe again. Now it’s just hours until they are together.”
A class action lawsuit will now be launched against Interpol for what Ipex says is a “consistent and repetitive” abuse of power, Stirling said.
She added: “Iraq was furnished with evidence from Qatar National Bank last week to prove the extradition was over bank debt.
“Consumer debt does not meet the criteria for extradition, but it was highly likely Iraq would have succumbed to pressure from Qatar and handed him over anyway.
“Brian is free due to a combination of lobbying and media efforts, negotiating and settling the debt with QNB and strong diplomatic representations.”
A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Development office confirmed it was providing consular support to Glendinning.