Khaled Radwan Zaghloul, a renowned Egyptian engineer, has been sentenced to five years in jail in Iraq over a financial dispute with his employer. The 47-year-old engineer, who has worked tirelessly on some of the most challenging infrastructure projects in Iraq, has become a victim of the injustice and human rights violation that plagues the country’s judicial system.
Zaghloul’s ordeal began in 2021 when he was arrested by the Iraqi authorities after being accused of financial embezzlement by his former employer, which is a state-owned construction company in Baghdad.
Khalid and his colleague Robert Pether were arrested in April and convicted of fraud in August. They were sentenced to five years in jail and fined $12 million. They lost their appeal and can only hope for clemency from the Iraqi Prime Minister.
Despite the lack of evidence against him, he was thrown into prison and subjected to inhumane treatment.
Upon his arrest, the Egyptian engineer was stripped of his rights, denied legal representation, and subjected to physical and mental abuse. The authorities extracted a forced confession from him, and the judge presiding over his case ignored his defense evidence. He was subsequently sentenced to a five-year prison term without the right to appeal.
Radwan’s case is a clear example of the deep-rooted corruption in Iraq’s judicial system and the abuse of human rights. Many other foreign engineers, who have worked in Iraq and contributed significantly to the country’s development, have also fallen victim to this systemic corruption.
Despite the lack of credible evidence against him, Radwan has been held in captivity for years, deprived of his freedom and the ability to work, and subjected to torture and abuse. This represents a clear violation of his fundamental human rights and a blight on Iraq’s international standing.
The Egyptian government has condemned Radwan’s sentencing, calling for his immediate release and urging Iraq to respect the rights of foreign nationals working in the country. The Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also spoken out against the gross violation of Radwan’s fundamental human rights and urged the Iraqi government to ensure his safety and well-being while in custody.
Khaled Radwan Zaghloul’s case is not unique in Iraq, where human rights abuses and corruption in the judicial system are all too common. The country’s infrastructure projects rely heavily on foreign expertise and investment, with many foreign nationals working on these projects and contributing significantly to Iraq’s development. However, these workers are vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, as Zaghloul’s case demonstrates.
Reforms are necessary to improve Iraq’s judicial system and ensure the safety and well-being of foreign workers. The international community must demand more accountability from the Iraqi government for its treatment of foreign nationals, including Khaled Radwan Zaghloul.
Khaled Radwan Zaghloul and Robert Pether ,the two Dubai residents who have been in jail in Iraq for more than two years over a contract dispute may be released after a ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration found that the Central Bank of Iraq was to blame for the dispute and ordered it to pay $13m to the engineering company involved in the case, which includes legal costs.
This ruling strengthens the case for the release of Australian Pether and Egyptian Zaghloul, who were sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $12m by a Baghdad court in 2021.
The continued captivity of Khaled Radwan Zaghloul in Iraq is a severe human rights violation, and the global community must demand his immediate release. His case underscores the need for Iraq to reform its judicial system and improve its human rights record. It also highlights the vulnerability of foreign workers in countries with weak judicial systems and underlines the urgent need for more action to protect their rights and safety.