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May 3, 2023

SITREP Pod 4: Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

SITREP Pod 4: Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy
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Last month marked two years since Robert Pether, an Australian citizen and Irish resident, has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iraq. He is a father, a husband and an engineer.

Robert and his colleague, Khalid Radwan were both detained in Baghdad on 7 April 2021 after they went to Iraq to resolve a business dispute between the Iraqi government and their Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. CME Consulting which is an engineering firm was working on the new headquarters for the Central Bank of Iraq. The project was hit by delays and increased costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a dispute arose whereby the Iraqi government demanded the return of $12 million USD paid to CME Consulting. As a result of this dispute between the Iraqi government and CME Consulting, both Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan who work for the company were detained and put in prison. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that their detention is arbitrary meaning they are wrongfully imprisoned and called for their immediate release.

We have interviewed Robert’s wife, Desree Pether and his son, Flynn Pether four times on this podcast. There have been significant updates in Robert and Khalid’s case. New evidence has come to light that undermines a witness statement that was used to wrongfully imprison Robert and Khalid. Desree Pether joins us again to tell us more.

We discuss what has happened since we last spoke in November last year, the current state of Robert’s health, how the Pether family are coping with this ongoing trauma and how this has impacted Desree’s health as she has multiple sclerosis. 

We also discuss what the governments of Iraq, Australia and Egypt should do to free Robert and Khalid, how the international community and journalists can help as well as how to keep up to date with the Free Robert Pether campaign. 

For more information on Robert Pether, please check out the following:

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