LONDON: British engineer Brian Glendinning, who is being held in Iraq, is now facing extradition to Qatar for failing to repay a bank loan, the Guardian reported.
On Sept. 12, Glendinning was arrested on an Interpol “red notice” at Baghdad airport and has been held in a police cell since then, awaiting an extradition hearing.
Upon his arrest, the 43-year-old father of three was informed that an Interpol notice had been issued by Qatar over apparent missed payments, which according to his family had been a £20,000 ($22,124) loan taken out in 2018 when working in the Gulf state.
Glendinning’s wife, Kimberly, told the Guardian her husband had struggled to repay his loan after falling ill this Christmas and losing his job in Scotland. She insists, however, that monthly payments were still being made to the Qatar National Bank, with whom he was in regular contact.
According to the Guardian, the Qatari government has yet to file an extradition request. Meanwhile, Iraq does not enforce the general rule that an extradition request must be made within 45 days of arrest. In this case, Glendinning is at risk of being detained for an extended period in Baghdad.
Radha Stirling, the founder of IPEX, an NGO aiming for the reform of Interpol and its extradition process, accused Qatar of abusing the Interpol system. Relatives of victims were often forced to pay out sums exceeding what was owed to avoid their loved ones spending long periods in jail, she claimed.
“We will make every diplomatic and legal effort to save Brian from extradition. Qatar is making itself a nuisance and costing taxpayers a lot of money,” Stirling said.
“We’ve helped Brits arrested in Spain (on an Interpol notice issued by Qatar) many times, the Czech Republic, Italy, Denmark, Ukraine and so on. The police and court time is costly and the victim can be unfairly detained throughout the trial,” Stirling added.
As Qatar prepares to host 1.2 million visitors for the World Cup starting on Nov. 20, Sterling warned traveling football fans that minor infractions could be used as an excuse by the Qatar government against visitors once the finals are over.
“It’s a human rights issue and clearly highlights Qatar’s intimate relationship with Interpol. With the World Cup coming up, Qatar should be mindful of rights attacks towards foreigners,” Sterling said.