Brit dad spent 11 months in Iraq prison hell using plastic bottle as toilet

A Scottish dad has shared his terrifying ordeal after being kept in a 'horror' Iraqi jail cell and detained in the country for 11 months.

Dumfermline-born engineering manager Thomas travelled to Iraq with his employer for a site visit but was cuffed by police at the airport arrivals.

Thomas had been called to testify at an Iraqi courthouse in August 2018 in regards to an alleged oil theft involving his previous employer and another company.

The 61-year-old had been called to testify at an Iraqui courthouse in August 2018 regarding alleged oil theft between his previous employer and another firm.

Thomas says he was called to court as a 'person of interest' purely because he worked for the firm at the time and was asked to speak in court.

He then returned home to Dubai and took up employment with another company.

It was upon travelling back to Iraq on a two-month site visit with his new employer in July 2020 that he was immediately arrested.

The Scot was kept in a hell-hole jail cell for three days – but was then subject to a travel ban while lawyers dealt with his paperwork, leaving him stuck in Iraq for 11 months.

Thomas told the The Daily Record: "I landed in Basra and was taken straight to the airport jail.

"It was your typical cell with the iron gates.

"A square room with a tiled floor and no window but a blinding lightbulb stayed on the entire time.”

He added: "It was horrible.

"I barely slept. I wasn't let out to do anything so I wasn't tiring myself out through exercise.

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"I had one mattress to sleep on but it was dirty, really horrible and old.

"If I needed the toilet I had one plastic bottle, from there my urine got decanted into other plastic bottles for the guards.

He added: "My family were terrified but thankfully my employer got in touch and assured them they'd get me out of jail.

"They arranged for a lawyer to come out to the jail and they brought me food.

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After three days behind bars, Thomas learned of the arrest warrant and travel ban.

He said: ”Really, I was given no full explanation as to why I was in there.”

"Several lawyers took on my case and tried to push the paperwork through but there were several obstacles, both legal and administrative and then pandemic-related delays on top.

Being separated from his partner, Esme, and children, Jamie, 16 and Kane, 13, took a physical, emotional and financial toll on Thomas.

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He said: ”There were a few times where I thought I'd be getting home and then it fell through at the last minute, my family were inconsolable.

"Between lawyers' fees, bonds and extra costs, I'll have spent around the equivalent of £25,000, some of which I'll get back.

After months of waiting and the efforts of several lawyers, Thomas was free to return to his family at midnight on July 2, 2021.

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