Brother of Scot held in Iraq says his conditions are ‘vile’

The brother of a Scottish man who is being held in Iraq over a Qatari bank debt says he is being kept in “vile” conditions in a Baghdad jail.

Brian Glendinning’s family held a protest outside Holyrood on Thursday as they campaigned for his release, saying the Foreign Secretary had not spoken to them about their concerns.

The 43-year-old, from Kincardine in Fife, was arrested on an Interpol “red notice” on September 12 and has been in a holding cell in Baghdad since then.

He was contracted to work at a BP refinery in Iraq, but the red notice was issued due to an alleged debt owed to the Qatari National Bank.

He is now being represented by Radha Stirling of the NGO Ipex, which is campaigning for reform of extradition laws and the red notice system.

Brian’s brother, John Glendinning, said: “Brian has no rights there [in Iraq] at all. He has no welfare, the welfare that he does receive.

“We have to pay for Brian’s welfare. We have to do this through a lawyer. Up to date so far, since he’s been in Baghdad, we’ve paid out 1,500 dollars.

“For what welfare he gets, it’s vile. Horrible.”

John said his brother is one of 43 people currently in a holding cell designed for 10 people.

“His sleeping facilities is basically rolled up mats that they share,” he said. “They’re soiled, they’re covered in excrement.

“There’s two showers. Warm, brown water – people refuse to shower. Brian’s breaking out in sores.

“The bottled water that Brian’s supplied with, and the other prisoners, is kept inside the toilet where the rats are urinating over them.”

John said he spoke with Brian on Wednesday evening, and found his brother is “quite scared at the moment” as the family currently cannot send money to him.

He said letters had been sent out to the Foreign Office, with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly forwarding it on to then prime minister Liz Truss – “but that’s a bit of a circus as we know, down there”.

Asked what his message to the Foreign Secretary would be, John said: “After reading his statement on the BBC News telling gay couples to watch what they’re doing when they go to Qatar, it doesn’t sound like James Cleverly is going to be able to help my brother out anytime soon.

“But if he was here, I would tell him it’s not about trade deals and champagne parties.

You’ve got a job and a duty to do. And one of them’s about my brother Brian Glendinning.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are providing support to a British man who has been arrested in Iraq and are in touch with the local authorities.”