Son of Australian engineer detained in Iraq decries father's 'inhuman' treatment

Son of Australian engineer detained in Iraq decries father's 'inhuman' treatment
Flynn Pether, who will celebrate his 18th birthday in two weeks, has reportedly deplored his father's treatment after being arrested in Baghdad as 'downright inhumane'.
2 min read
19 May, 2021
Robert Pether has been detained in Baghdad for over 41 days [Getty]

The son of an Australian man detained for over a month in Iraq has described his father’s treatment as "inhuman" and "criminal".

Speaking to The Guardian, Flynn Pether said his family was suffering and that the ordeal had struck his mother "very hard".

Robert Pether, a mechanical engineer who worked on the construction of the Iraqi central bank's HQ was allegedly lured to Baghdad following a business dispute surrounding the project.

Pether and a colleague flew to the Iraqi capital from Dubai on 1 April to attend a meeting with bank executives but were soon arrested.

His lawyer alleges that his detention is a bargaining chip for the bank in its ongoing dispute with Pether’s employer, a Dubai-based firm.

His family has alleged that Pether has been held in solitary confinement.

“I feel like it’s criminal what they did,” his son told The Guardian. “It’s downright inhumane the way they’ve been treating him, given he has worked tirelessly around the clock to deliver the project.”

Read also: Wife of Australian engineer 'trapped' by Iraq employers urges government intervention

Flynn Pether is preparing for university entrance exams in Ireland, a notoriously stressful time, and will mark his 18th birthday in two weeks time.

The teenager, who is an Irish citizen along with his 15-year old sibling Oscar, added that he had spoken to his father only once since his arrest.

"As soon as he knew that I was on the line, he was just apologising, saying: 'Sorry I can’t make it to graduation, sorry I can’t get to your birthday, I will make it up to you, I promise,'" he said.

"I said to him, 'It's not going anywhere without you, and it’s all being recorded anyway. You're not missing out.'"

Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade has given limited details about his father's case but said it is providing consular assistance. There has been no comment from the Iraqi authorities.