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A British oil worker, Brian Glendinning, revealed how he was unexpectedly thrown into jail alongside Al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq due to an unresolved £4,000 debt.
The incident unfolded after an Interpol Red Notice, issued by Qatar five years prior, led to his detention in Basra, Sky News reports.
Red Notices, designed to help authorities track fugitives across borders, came under scrutiny following a new Sky News podcast uncovering potential vulnerabilities to abuse by authoritarian governments.
Brian, 44, had been working as an oil engineer in Qatar when he faced financial challenges due to an illness that forced him to leave the country and subsequently lose his job.
Attempting to resolve the issue upon returning to the UK, Brian contacted the bank to negotiate a repayment plan. Unfortunately, legal actions escalated, leading to a warrant for his arrest.
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Brian was detained while en route to a job in Iraq in September 2022. His wife, Kimberley, recounted the heart-wrenching moment when she received the news at the airport. “My heart actually missed a beat,” she said, her voice filled with emotion.
Inside the Baghdad jail where he was transferred, conditions were abysmal, with an open drain serving as the toilet in his overcrowded cell shared with 42 inmates, some of whom were hardened criminals.
In order to ensure his safety, Brian said he had to make payments to some fellow detainees.
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Throughout the nine weeks of his imprisonment, Brian’s family was uncertain about his release. He was allowed to make occasional calls home, but the uncertainty weighed heavily on their minds.
With dedicated efforts from his brother, John, Brian finally secured his release by reaching an agreement with the bank. However, the amount paid, exceeding £30,000, far surpassed the original debt. While relieved to be back with his family, the traumatic experience left Brian deeply affected.
Recounting the ordeal, Brian expressed his unease towards flying and shared his struggle to find his way back to normal life. “I’ve lost my way,” he revealed in his first interview since returning from Iraq. “I’m wondering how to get back on that path.”
Despite the challenges, Brian held onto hope that he would eventually overcome the distressing memories. He longed for the day when the haunting experience would become a distant memory, saying, “I just want it to go away.”
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