“There is no case” says Brian Glendinning’s Iraqi lawyer on Qatar Interpol warrant
Scottish construction engineer Brian Glendinning’s detention has been extended for another week by the courts. “The punishment is the process”, says extradition crisis consultant Radha Stirling. “Qatar regularly has foreigners detained abroad over bank debts even though they know they will lose an extradition request in court”.
Brian’s Iraq based lawyer, Tahseen Alchaabawi, issued a statement saying “The case of the British citizen, Brian, is a civil case, and according to Iraqi law, there is no criminal element.
But there is a warning arrest from Interpol against Brian from Qatar and unfortunately, the Qatari authorities are acting with hostility. They are deliberately not sending the case file to the Iraqi court (they do that on purpose )in order for Brian to remain in prison for a long time”.
Stirling added “delaying the required documentation is a tactic employed to slow down the decision making process in Iraq. If they sent the file, Iraq would immediately see that it is a civil case and lacks dual criminality. Brian would be freed. Instead, he is being held in horrendous detention conditions at the order of Qatar National Bank”.
This is not the first time.
A Czech court ruled that the detention of Alan Stevenson was a violation of human rights.
Alan, who worked in IT at HSBC from the mid to late 2000s, was held in the country for 4½ months over an alleged credit card debt in Qatar.
Radha Stirling said he was a victim of “abuse” of international police agency Interpol's arrest-warrant system over a debt with the Qatar National Bank he insisted he had not incurred.
She added that “no evidence was produced or provided to the Czech courts” to back up an extradition request from Qatar. Iraq must be mindful that Qatar is a repeat abuser of the extradition process.
Ms Stirling said: “Alan Stevenson's case should be a watershed moment for Interpol reform and human rights compliance.
“Alan's case is emblematic of what has been happening with ever greater frequency from the Gulf states.
“Interpol has been hijacked by authoritarian regimes around the world who abuse the red notice system to persecute political opponents, dissidents, independent journalists, and private individuals over financial disputes.”
British national Steven Williams was held in Mallorca over a Qatar bank debt. “I’ve been paying the debt so I don’t understand how it’s risen to £92,000 in such a short space of time – they’re adding interest and fees on and it’s just terrifying they can get away with it. Steven even offered to pay a large chunk of money but they rejected it then had him arrested to extort a larger sum than he actually owed”.
Stirling commented “The toll on Steven was high. He is afraid to travel and we can only imagine how Brian is going to feel if he is lucky enough to be released. His family is absolutely distraught over his detention and the conditions at the facility. They are worried for his health, his mental health and his life”.
Brian and his family have urged British nationals to stop helping Qatar to promote itself. “The world cup is coming up, don’t promote it. Don’t go there”, Brian warned.
The family has called on sportswasher David Beckham to use his influence to help the cause. “How can people support a country that so blatantly violates international principles of human rights?”
What is an Interpol Red Notice? Stirling explains.
An Interpol Red Notice is an alert sent to member states that notifies them that a particular country has an interest in arrest with a view to extradition. When someone is arrested, a notification is sent to Interpol who shares the information with the requesting state, in this instance Qatar. Qatar will then advise whether they intend to seek extradition. If so, they will be required to send documentation to the arresting country to initiate extradition proceedings.
Most modern countries have a limit of 45 days for this to happen. If the documentation is not sent, the individual will be released but the Red Notice will not be deleted at this point and so they could be re-arrested in the future.
If a case proceeds to a trial, a judge will determine whether there is sufficient evidence of criminality to proceed. If they determine that the request is of a civil nature, the individual should be released. If not, the process will continue to a full trial and both sides will be required to submit arguments. This process can take months to years and bail is unlikely.
How are banks able to use Interpol for debt collection?
Interpol has no checks and balances to ensure the data they are receiving from a member state falls within their constitution. They rely on the local National Crime Bureau (NCB) to be responsible in their reporting. Unfortunately, this ‘trust’ leads to consistent abuse. Journalists can be reported as terrorists, debtors as fraudsters and so on. Member states are not penalised for misuse and there is no compensation scheme for victims.
Extradition ‘Quid Pro Quo’ abuse.
The extradition of ‘wanted persons’ has been used for political advancement by allied countries. For example, the UAE extradited a number of high profile ‘fugitives’ to India after India’s cooperation in the abduction of Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum. It is certainly concerning that Iraq has strong ties to Qatar including commercial and investment incentives. This puts Brian at risk of extrajudicial extradition or lengthy and unfair detention.
What can the British government do?
The FCDO and foreign diplomats could quite easily pick up the phone to their Qatari counterparts and urge them to withdraw the extradition request and employ standard debt collection practices such as seeking a CCJ. The case is clearly detrimental to Qatar’s reputation while they are promoting the country as a sound and safe place for foreign investment and tourism. We have approached the British Ambassador, John Wilks and asked him to approach his counterparts and Qatar National Bank directly. Douglas Chapman, MP has approached the Qatari Ambassador to Britain and we hope that he takes the unfair detention of a British national seriously. Ultimately, James Cleverly as the new Foreign Secretary needs to step in and show that British nationals matter. It is his job.
How long could this go on?
Without intervention, Brian could be detained for months if not years. Robert Urwin spent over a year in Ukraine before ultimately being released. This is why it is so important for the British government to apply diplomatic pressure.
If extradited, Brian could spend two years (or more) in a Qatar prison and then held hostage on a travel ban indefinitely.
Detained in Dubai: http://www.detainedindubai.org
Detained in Doha: https://www.detainedindoha.org
Radha Stirling: http://www.radhastirling.com
CLAN - Crypto Legal Advocacy Network - https://www.bitclan.org/
Due Process International: http://www.dueprocess.international
IPEX - Interpol & Extradition Reform & Defence Experts - https://www.ipexreform.com/