Thursday, December 22, 2022

‘Mental torture’: British father saw rats ‘the size of cats’ in Iraqi prison

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Brian Glendinning, 43, said he “pressed the pause button” on a life during two months in prison where it was just “survival” to get through the days.

He had a contract to work at an oil refinery in Iraq However, he was arrested on September 12 on a Red Notice from Interpol at Baghdad Airport over alleged debts to the Qatar National Bank.

The father of three was eventually released after campaigning for the Interpol and Extradition Reform (Ipex) initiative and returned to Scotland on November 19.

He detailed his experience to Ipex founder Radha Stirling, who hosts the Gulf in Justice podcast.

Mr Glendinning said rats had infested the toilets in the cell he shared, making sleeping difficult.

He said: “I looked and saw this rat running by, this thing was the size of a cat. They came out of the toilet, it was just a hole in the floor.

“If you saw Trainspotting and the toilet scene in it, it was ten times worse, there were rats everywhere. For four nights I watched these rats all night and never slept.”

Though he eventually managed to sleep after noticing the rats would not leave the toilet area, he said he endured constant noise and no hot water during his time in prison.

He said, “The mental torture every day, it was the noise, the rabble and the voices, a fan, there was a generator right outside the window, the fumes came out of the generator, headache.”

Mr Glendinning said he saw police hitting other prisoners and that although he was not hit himself, the guards dealt with him with “hard hands”, shoving him as he walked.

He said he initially feared being extradited to Qatar and facing two years in prison.

When asked about the worst moments of his ordeal, he told Ms Stirling: ‘The worst part was the first call home to tell them ‘By the way I’m locked in here and I don’t think I’m out’.

“And when I actually managed to get hold of the official documents and read the words ‘You were sentenced to two years in prison in Qatar in your absence in 2017, Qatar wanted you extradited’, my world collapsed .

“I had already planned that phone call to Kimberley (his wife) where he said, ‘Look, just get on with life, I won’t be there, don’t even bother coming here, to see me. . I didn’t want the kids to get out of here, I just wrote myself off back then.

“When I got there I hit the pause button of my life and when I got back out I hit play again but I thought the pause button was going to stay on a lot longer than it was.

“It wasn’t a life for me in there, it was survival, an existence, and it’s something I don’t want to remember again, so I hit pause.”

Mr Glendinning, from Kincardine, Fife, said he was incredibly grateful to his friends and family and everyone who worked to bring him home.

He said: “The best time was the day I heard I was getting out, I didn’t even know it was coming. And after that the plane landed at Edinburgh Airport and I knew I was home.”

Ms Stirling said: “I feel privileged to be able to help this lovely family that I have come to know. I am grateful for their energy and dedication in supporting the campaign to free Brian.”

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