Father of three freed from Iraqi prison returns home

Scottish construction engineer Brian Glendinning with his wife and daughters after arriving at Edinburgh airport following his release after two months in an Iraqi jail (Jane Barlow/PA Wire) (PA Wire)
Scottish construction engineer Brian Glendinning with his wife and daughters after arriving at Edinburgh airport following his release after two months in an Iraqi jail (Jane Barlow/PA Wire) (PA Wire)

A father of three who was held in an Iraqi jail over an unpaid debt has returned to Scotland.

Brian Glendinning, 43, arrived at Edinburgh airport on Saturday after being held in a prison in Iraq.

He had been working at an oil refinery there but was arrested on an Interpol red notice at Baghdad airport on September 12 over an alleged debt owed to the Qatar National Bank.

He was met by his mother, Meta; his wife, Kimberly; daughters Heidi and Lexi; and his brothers John and Lee at Edinburgh after returning to Scotland on a flight from Istanbul.

Speaking to journalists at the airport, Mr Glendinning said: “I just didn’t think this time was coming anytime soon.”

The construction worker added he was now “back where I belong with my family and my friends”.

Mr Glendinning continued: “It’s just the emotions. I didn’t think I was going to be here anytime soon.”

He thanked all those who had supported him and worked to get him freed, including  Radha Stirling, founder of the Interpol and Extradition Reform (Ipex) initiative, and Douglas Chapman, the MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, who was also at the airport to greet him.

“If it wasn’t for the support from everybody back home, my family and my friends, Douglas Chapman, Radha Stirling, I would still have been there,” Mr Glendinning said.

“To be honest, I think I would have been on my way to Qatar and it wouldn’t have been for the World Cup.”

He was unable to shave during the time in prison – with his brother John saying there had only been a single communal shaver in the jail, where Mr Glendinning had been kept in “vile” conditions.

And Mr Glendinning joked: “It’s just time to get home and get to the barbers.”

Speaking prior to his arrival, wife Kimberly said he “couldn’t wait to get home and see us all”.

She added that he had missed her 40th birthday while behind bars, but added with him returning “that’s my birthday and Christmas in one”.

She was waiting at the airport with Heidi, 16 and Lexi, 12, and other members of the family.

Meta, 67, said she was “ecstatic” and “overwhelmed” at her son’s return.

“I’m over the moon,” she said.

“I’ve lived in fear for nine weeks, utter fear.”

Elder brother Lee Glendinning, 48, admitted: “I didn’t think I would see him home. If I am being honest I didn’t think I would see my brother again.”

Speaking about Mr Glendinning’s time in prison, he added: “He was in with the Taliban, he was in with murderers, and all of £4,000 of debt.

“But the fact that he is out now is amazing.”

Speaking about his release, Ms Stirling stated: “This is the moment we have been working towards the past five weeks and we’re incredibly relieved to see him back on UK soil.

“Brian is going to take some time to rest and recuperate with his family before telling the world about the horrific experience he was forced to endure at the hands of Qatar, a country who has spent a fortune portraying itself as a tolerant society.

“Once Brian has rested, we intend to push for British safeguards and to hold Qatar to account for the repeated abuse of our citizens”.