500 signatures reached
To: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Senator Marise Payne
Free Robert Pether
Secure the release of Robert Pether - An Australian Engineer who was arrested, fined 12 Million USD and sentenced to 5 years jail time in Iraq after travelling there on behalf of his employer, CME Consulting, to assist with the resolution of an industrial dispute.
Why is this important?
Robert Pether is an Australian citizen, husband and father, employed by Dubai-based company, CME Consulting. Robert was working on a project for the CME's client, the Central Bank of Iraq. The project was hit by delays and increased costs due to the COVID pandemic and a dispute arose whereby the Iraqi government demanded the return of $12 million USD paid to CME Consulting.
Robert travelled to Iraq with his colleague, Egyptian Engineer Khalid Zhagoul, on behalf on CME Consulting and by invitation from the Central Bank of Iraq - to a meeting to discuss the resolution of the industrial dispute. When Robert and Khalid arrived in Iraq, there was no actual meeting. Instead they were arrested on 7 April and subjected to over 3 months of arbitrary detention before being sentenced to 5 years jail time and fined 12 million USD.
The contract between CME Consulting and the client, the Central Bank of Iraq, was a FIDIC Contract (International Federation of Consulting Engineers) of which one of the fundamental principles is that employees hold no personal liability. Robert Pether and his colleague Khalid Zhagoul are employees who have been charged response to the Central Bank of Iraq's allegations against their employer, CME Consulting.
Denied access to their laptops, official documents and with insufficient access to their lawyers, Robert Pether and Khalid Zhagoul were incapable of launching a sufficient defence at their trial. They now have until 24 September 2021 to launch an appeal, without sufficient access to representation and supporting documents.
This is, essentially, a thinly veiled hostage situation where two employees have been imprisoned and fined the exact amount - 12 million USD - that was in dispute between their employer CME Consulting and the client, the Central Bank of Iraq. As they will not be released unless the fine is paid it is also, in all probability, a life sentence.
Please sign this petition to put pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Senator Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to take action and intervene in this gross violation of human rights.