‘Hostages in a contract dispute’-

Robert Pether: ‘My Australian husband faces death in an Iraq jail’-

  • Published3 hours ago

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Robert Pether with moles on his body which doctors fear to be cancerous
Image caption, Robert Pether needs urgent care in a hospital, his doctor says

By Tiffanie Turnbull

BBC News, Sydney

When Desree Pether saw a photo of her husband’s face for the first time in 17 months, she ran to the bathroom and threw up.

“He looks like he’s already dead,” she tells the BBC. 

“It haunts me every time I shut my eyes.”

Australian man Robert Pether looks nothing like the healthy “gentle giant” he’d been before he was detained in Iraq last year, she says.

For a start, he’s lost 40kg (88lb) – a third of his body weight. He’s weak and frail: “All his muscles are gone, completely.”

There’s an “explosion” of worrying new moles on his skin, Mrs Pether says – he has previously survived melanoma. 

And then there’s his eyes, rimmed by large dark circles – which his wife likens to a swamp. 

“It’s like watching him being murdered in slow motion,” she says. 

The UN has said Mr Pether is being detained arbitrarily.

A mechanical engineer, he’d worked in the Middle East for almost a decade before taking on a huge rebuild of the Central Bank of Iraq’s Baghdad headquarters in 2015.

Towards the end of the project, a dispute arose between the bank and the company Mr Pether works for – Dubai-based engineering firm CME Consulting.

The company has not spoken publicly about the matter.

But the bank says Mr Pether, who was the project lead, and his Egyptian deputy, Khalid Radwan, plotted with CME to keep money owed to others involved in the project.

However the pair’s advocates say they are “hostages in a contract dispute”.

A view of the Tigris River
Image caption, Mr Pether had worked a major building project near the Tigris River in Baghdad

The UN has determined they were “lured” to Iraq under false pretences in April 2021.

It was the start of an ordeal that contravenes international law and could amount to torture, the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention wrote in a March report.

First, Mr Pether and Mr Radwan were forcibly disappeared for several days, it said.

Mr Pether was held in a 2 sq m (21 sq ft) cell with no access to the outside world and little access to water, a source told the UN.

He was there for 12 days. In that time Mr Pether was blindfolded, subjected to “abusive and coercive” interrogations, and shown torture rooms, the report said.

It noted Mr Pether can’t bring himself to talk about what happened in his first two weeks in detention.

In that time he lost 15kg, became so dehydrated he developed severe kidney and bladder infections, and began suffering from delirium and blackouts.

When consular officials were finally able to speak to him – on his 26th day of detention – he was emotional and terrified, according to the report.

The working group has referred the case to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on torture for investigation.

Quick trial

Mr Pether or Mr Radwan were held for more than five months before they were charged with fraudulently receiving funds.

There is no clear information about Iraq’s case against the men.

“We thought as soon as the evidence was presented, they’d say, ‘Oh, I see. There’s been a mistake made… very sorry’,” Mrs Pether says.

But their trial in August last year moved quickly. The judge deliberated for only 15 minutes before convicting them, imposing a joint fine of $12m (A$18.5m, £11m) and a five-year jail sentence each.

Appeals have been unsuccessful, and the men’s lawyers have formally requested a retrial with new evidence.

For weeks, their families have been anxiously awaiting that decision.

But Mrs Pether is growing less and less optimistic her husband will be released, even in 2026 when his sentence expires.

The court recently increased the men’s fine by $20m – a sum they’ll never be able to pay, Mrs Pether says.

Robert Pether pictured with his two sons
Image caption, Robert Pether pictured with his two sons in 2020

The UN found Mr Pether and Mr Radwan had been denied proper legal process, evidence used against them was “improperly obtained” and claims of “collusion” between the judge and the bank’s lawyers were credible.

“It’s like a Hollywood movie but if you were watching it, you’d be like, ‘No, they can’t get away with that,” Mrs Pether says. 

Australia holds ‘serious concerns’

As the saga drags out, Mr Pether’s health only goes downhill, his family says.

In recent months his doctor wrote to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and embassy staff, pleading for action.

The “massive” increase in moles on his body – some have changed shape dramatically – are an “alarmingly” strong indication his melanoma has returned, he said. 

Mr Pether needs urgent hospital care rather than to share a “squalid” cell with 21 inmates while sickly, the doctor said.

“If he is not afforded this basic human right without delay, I fear that Australia will in short time be repatriated with the corpse of Mr Pether.”

But Iraq’s government has denied allegations of ill-treatment, calling them baseless.

“He’s in good condition and receives the adequate medical care that he needs,” Justice Ministry spokesman Ahmed Al Luaibi told Dubai-based outlet The National.

Australian officials have expressed “serious concern” about Mr Pether’s welfare, saying they are working to ensure he has access to appropriate treatment.

“The Australian government continues to advocate for Mr Pether in the strongest possible terms and at the highest levels,” a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said in a statement.

Australia’s previous government – which lost power in May – had urged Iraq to settle the dispute with Mr Pether’s employer in a local civil court, stressing it could not intervene in legal matters overseas.

In June, Mr Albanese raised Mr Pether’s case with the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. 

But Mrs Pether says she feels like Australian officials don’t understand the urgency and aren’t doing enough.

“I don’t know what else to do. Do I chain myself to the embassy stairs?”

“All these people need to do the right thing before they’re contacting me and saying, ‘I’m so sorry for your loss.'”

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-63030307

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Find out when the new president will receive the keys to the Peace Palace

politicsbreakingPeace PalacePresident of the RepublicAbdul Latif Rashid

 2022-10-14 16:27A-AA+

Shafaq News/ An informed source revealed on Friday, the date of the presidential inauguration ceremony by the new Iraqi president.

The source told Shafak News Agency; The ceremony of handing over the presidency between former presidents Barham Salih and the current Abdel Latif Rashid will take place next Sunday.

The Iraqi Council of Representatives, in a session held yesterday, Thursday, elected Abdul Latif Rashid as President of the Republic, after a difficult period that lasted more than a year since the early legislative elections that took place in October of last year.

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At Talabani’s headquarters, the Sudanese discusses the program of the next government

political| 07:45 – 10/14/2022

image

Baghdad – Mawazine News

The President of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Bafel Jalal Talabani, received, on Friday, at his residence in the capital, Baghdad, the person in charge of forming the government, Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani.
A statement by Talabani’s office, a copy of which was received by Mawazine News, said that “in a fruitful meeting, the new government’s program and strategy were discussed, as well as unifying efforts to make that government a service national government during its legal term and moving towards more citizens’ demands.”
According to the statement, “During the Sudanese meeting, Talabani congratulated him again, wishing him success in his mission, stressing the same recommendations of their previous meeting, saying: Protecting the constitutional rights of the people of Kurdistan is the duty of the new government, and the Kurdish people and all peoples in Iraq must be viewed with the same view, hoping that Everyone works as one team to achieve the higher interests on the basis of the constitution.”
During the meeting, Talabani pointed out that “the previous experiences of governance will not be repeated, saying:” I hope that the government will move towards good governance with a new vision and not repeat the mistakes and experiences of the past, and not to mix political problems with governance and not to make citizens hostage to conflicts, adding that the formation of the government at this sensitive moment is a responsibility. And we will all be supportive of national endeavors.”
For his part, Al-Sudani praised Talabani’s efforts to make this national step a success, saying: “Today I visited a brother, a friend, and an essential participant in the new government. President Pavel and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan are a sincere partner of ours, and together we will step towards building a more prosperous future.” Ended 29/77

https://www.mawazin.net/Details.aspx?jimare=208263

Abdul-Jabbar heads a delegation to participate in the meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington

Economie| 09:16 – 10/14/2022

image

Baghdad – Mawazine News

On Friday, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar, headed the Iraqi delegation participating in the meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, held in the American capital, Washington, with the participation of the Undersecretary and a number of general managers.
A statement by the ministry, which Mawazine News received a copy of, stated that “the Minister of Finance held several side meetings with a number of financial and economic institutions, on the sidelines of the meetings, during which he stressed the importance of strengthening relations with various international partners, and the trend towards developing areas of regional and international cooperation.”
And the minister indicated, “the efforts aimed at solving all problems and removing the obstacles that accompany the process of promoting investment opportunities and establishing projects in Iraq, stressing the need to involve the private sector to take its role in the overall economic activity to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development.”
According to the statement, “participation in the meetings of the Fund and the World Bank included: central bank governors, ministers of finance and development, senior officials from the private sector, representatives of civil society organizations, and academics to discuss issues of global concern.”
The statement indicated that “the visit of the Iraqi delegation comes as part of efforts to enhance and deepen the areas of economic cooperation with the two international institutions, as well as Iraq’s intention to obtain technical and technical support from the US Treasury and other financial institutions.” Ended 29/R77

https://www.mawazin.net/Details.aspx?jimare=208271

I welcomed Al-Sudani’s pledges.. US Ambassador: We will stick with the new government on common goals

politicsMuhammed Shiaa Al-SudaniUS Ambassador to BaghdadFormation of the new Iraqi government

 2022-10-14 12:55A-AA+

Shafaq News / The US Ambassador to Iraq, Elena Romanowski, welcomed today, Friday, the pledges of Prime Minister-designate Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani regarding security, sovereignty and combating corruption, and expressed her country’s commitment to supporting and partnering with the new government to promote common goals.

“I welcome Prime Minister-designate Muhammad Shia’a pledge to fight corruption, defend Iraqi sovereignty and security, and form a government dedicated to serving the people of Iraq,” the US ambassador said in a tweet on Twitter.

“The United States is committed to supporting and partnering with the new Iraqi government to advance these shared goals,” the ambassador added.

Yesterday, Thursday, the Prime Minister-designate in charge of forming the new Iraqi government, Muhammad Shiaa al-Sudani, urged to start a new page, stressing that the time had come to restore the prestige of the state and stop lawlessness.

Yesterday, Thursday, the Iraqi Council of Representatives succeeded in electing the new President of the Republic, Abdul Latif Rashid, in the second round of voting, after one of the candidates did not receive the votes of two-thirds of the representatives, as stipulated in the Iraqi constitution.

The elected President of the Republic, Abdel Latif Rashid, the candidate of the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, commissioned the formation of the new government.

The election of the President of the Republic and the assignment of the Prime Minister comes a year after the early elections were held on October 10, 2021. However, the political blocs were unable to elect the President of the Republic, who in turn assigns the candidate of the largest number of parliamentary blocs to form the government.

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Blackshart to Al-Sudani: We expect the government program to address a long list of urgent issues

  • Time: 10/14/2022 14:45:41
  • Reading: 702 times
Blackshart to Al-Sudani: We expect the government program to address a long list of urgent issues

  {Political: Al Furat News} The United Nations Mission in Iraq congratulated today, Friday, the election of Abdul Latif Rashid as President of the Republic, and Muhammad Shia for assigning him to form the government.

And the head of the United Nations mission in Iraq, Jeanine Plasschaert, expected in a statement, “that the formation of the government headed by Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani will pave the way for a government program that addresses urgent issues in the country.”

Plasschaert congratulated Al-Sudani, according to a statement: “The occasion of his assignment to form the new cabinet,” noting that she hopes and expects that “the formation of the government will pave the way for a government program that addresses Iraq’s long list of urgent and pending issues and meets the needs of the Iraqi people,” stressing that she looks forward to working with the government. new”.

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Masrour Barzani: We express our full support for the formation of an inclusive government that works to achieve the interests of the Iraqis

politicsMasrour BarzanibreakingSudanese

 2022-10-14 06:16A-AA+

Shafaq News/ The Prime Minister of Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, congratulated today, Friday, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani on the occasion of his assignment to form the new federal government.

The Prime Minister wrote on his Twitter account, saying: “We congratulated the Prime Minister-designate, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, on the occasion of his assignment to form the new government.”

He added, “We express our full support for the formation of an inclusive government that works to achieve the interests of all Iraqis, and to enhance real confidence between Erbil and Baghdad.”

The Prime Minister stressed by saying: “It is the duty of this government to defend the rights of all components, to perform its mission in the spirit of true partnership, and to restore the confidence of people who look forward to a better tomorrow.”

Yesterday, Thursday, the Iraqi Council of Representatives succeeded in electing the new President of the Republic, Abdul Latif Rashid, in the second round of voting, after one of the candidates did not receive the votes of two-thirds of the representatives, as stipulated in the Iraqi constitution.

Subsequently, the elected President of the Republic, Abdul Latif Rashid, the candidate of the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament, Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani, commissioned the formation of the new government.

The election of the President of the Republic and the assignment of the Prime Minister comes a year after the early elections were held on October 10, 2021, but the political blocs were unable to elect the President of the Republic, who in turn assigns the candidate of the largest number of parliamentary blocs to form the government.

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Coordination framework: Completion of the ministerial cabinet of Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani within 10 days

Coordination framework: Completion of the ministerial cabinet of Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani within 10 days

October 14, 2022 

Baghdad / Obelisk: The leader in the coordinating framework, Jabbar Al-Maamouri, revealed on Friday 10/14/2022 the announcement of the ministerial cabinet for commissioner Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani soon, indicating that it will be ready to vote within 10 days.

Al-Maamouri said, in a press interview, that the movement to identify candidates for the cabinet of the Sudanese government started yesterday evening, indicating that there are preliminary consensus on many points between the political forces, which will contribute to facilitating the task and reducing the time period.

He added that he expected that the cabinet of the Sudanese government would be ready within 10 days from now to be put to the House of Representatives for a vote, pointing out that the most important goals of the next government are to restore the prestige of the state and address economic failures.

The Iraqi Prime Minister-designate, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, said last Thursday, during his speech after receiving the letter of assignment to form the government from the President of the Republic, that his government will include efficient, honest and capable personalities, and that his program will support local governments, and work with dedication and sincerity for Addressing problems and crises.

Al-Sudani pointed out that the top priority of his government will be in the fight against corruption, and we call on everyone to assume responsibility and participate in a comprehensive national campaign to combat corruption.

He also affirmed that he will seek to hold local and parliamentary elections in a free and fair atmosphere and in light of a transparent electoral system that reassures all contestants.

الاطار التنسيقي: اكتمال الكابينة الوزارية لمحمد شياع السوداني خلال 10 ايام

The Obelisk publishes the biography of Prime Minister-designate Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani

The Obelisk publishes the biography of Prime Minister-designate Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani

October 13, 2022 

Baghdad/The Obelisk: The Obelisk Agency publishes, Thursday 10/13/2022, the biography of Prime Minister-designate Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani:

Born in Baghdad in 1970.

He participated in the popular uprising in 1991, and because of the security conditions and harassment, he moved to Baghdad for three years until he completed his university studies.

Married and has four children.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences from the College of Agriculture, University of Baghdad, and a Master’s degree in Project Management.

Maysan Governorate was born in 1970.

Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences.

– Secretary General of the Euphrates Movement.

 Positions held:

– Mayor of the city of Amarah 2004. 
– Governor of Maysan 2005. 
– Minister of Human Rights 2010. 
– Head of the High Commission for Accountability and Justice, Acting 2011. 
– Acting Minister of Agriculture 2013. 
– Head of the Political Prisoners Foundation, Acting 2014. 
– Acting Minister of Migration and Displacement 2014. 
– Minister of Finance Acting 2014. 
– Minister of Labor and Social Affairs 2014. 
– Acting Minister of Commerce 2015. 
– Acting Minister of Industry 2016.


المسلة تنشر السيرة الذاتية لرئيس الوزراء المكلف محمد شياع السوداني

A legal expert clarifies the constitutional steps after assigning Al-Sudani

  • Time: 10/14/2022 12:45:27
  • Reading: 481 times
A legal expert clarifies the constitutional steps after assigning Al-Sudani

  {Political: Al Furat News} A legal expert clarified the constitutional steps after assigning the most numerous parliamentary bloc candidate, Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani, to form the government.

Ali Al-Tamimi said in a statement, which {Al-Furat News} received a copy of: “The representative of the parliamentary bloc, the largest in number, has 30 days to present his cabinet and the ministerial curriculum for presentation to the House of Representatives, as stated in Article 76 of the Iraqi constitution.”
He added, “The Prime Minister-designate deliberately presents the names of his cabinet and his ministerial platform during the thirty-day period to the House of Representatives, and he is considered to have the confidence of Parliament when the ministers are approved individually and the ministerial platform by a simple majority, half the number of attendees plus one, after the quorum is achieved.”
And Al-Tamimi said, “If the Prime Minister-designate is unable and fails to present his cabinet and ministerial curriculum within the thirty-day period, the President of the Republic assigns a new candidate to replace the designate who failed.”
He continued, “
The legal expert pointed out that “whoever is assigned by the President of the Republic, if the previous commissioner fails or does not vote for him or for his cabinet, is from the same bloc that has the largest number and which was initially identified because the generality of the text contained in Article 76 of the Constitution was determined in the capacity by the first nomination by the President of the Republic. The constitution defines it as the most numerous bloc, and therefore any candidate is one of them, and this is consistent with the nature of the parliamentary system and the democratic context.
He pointed out that “a decision of the Federal Court of 2010 No. {93} did not require the Prime Minister-designate to name all members of his ministry, whether they are original or agency, but they can be in the form of payments, and the Parliament can approve the curriculum and ministers outside the period stipulated in the constitution. .

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