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Brit jailed in Iraq over ‘small bank debt’ is freed but could be arrested en route home

A Scottish man who was reportedly held in an Iraqi prison over a bank debt has been released – but risks being arrested on his way home, according to a human rights organisation.

Brian Glendinning, a construction worker from Kincardine in Fife, Scotland, was contracted to work at a BP oil refinery in Iraq.

But on September 12, the 43-year-old was arrested on an Interpol red notice from Qatar at Baghdad airport over an alleged debt owed to the Qatari National Bank

Radha Stirling, founder of the Interpol and Extradition Reform (Ipex) initiative, said she was “thrilled” to announce the news.

She added: “Mr Glendinning’s lawyer Tahseen Alchaabawi gave us the good news this morning. It was an emotional moment for his family and I couldn’t be happier for the Glendinnings.”

Ms Stirling said Mr Glendinning’s family are currently arranging flights and it is hoped he could be home as soon as Monday night or Wednesday.

However, Ms Stirling said Qatar had not confirmed if the Interpol red notice had been removed, so there could still be a risk that Mr Glendinning could be arrested en route back to Scotland.

A class action lawsuit will now be launched against Interpol for what Ipex says is a “consistent and repetitive” abuse of power.

Ms Stirling continued: “Iraq was furnished with evidence from Qatar National Bank last week to prove the extradition was over bank debt.

“Consumer debt does not meet the criteria for extradition, but it was highly likely Iraq would have succumbed to pressure from Qatar and handed him over anyway.

“Brian is free due to a combination of lobbying and media efforts, negotiating and settling the debt with QNB and strong diplomatic representations.

“We are proud to have successfully resolved another case of Interpol abuse. On a personal note, I will now always remember my birthday as the day Brian was freed.

“This was the best present I could have hoped for.”

Mr Glendinning’s brother John said he had lived in “vile” conditions in the Iraqi prison, adding: “Brian’s beard has grown. There was only a single communal shaver in the jail and he wasn’t going to use that.

“He’s in the hotel. I’ve seen a photo of him with a beer and I’m so happy he’s free.

“It was really emotional for the family. Even our father teared up and he never cries. Kimberly [Brian’s partner], the children, they can breathe again.

“Now it’s just hours until they are together.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Development office confirmed it was providing consular support to Mr Glendinning.