The young daughter of an Australian man who feared he was tortured in an Iraqi prison has made an impassioned plea to the Prime Minister to help bring her father home.
- Robert Pether was arrested last year while working at a bank headquarters in Iraq
- Her nine-year-old daughter Nala took to social media to ask for more help from the government
- Last week the Foreign Secretary dismissed suggestions that Mr Pether had been forgotten and abandoned
Robert Pether, 46, has been locked up in a Baghdad prison since April last year, and a United Nations investigation raised fears he was ‘shown to torture rooms, blindfolded, insulted and shouted at “as he languished behind bars.
Mr Pether, an engineer, was arrested alongside his Egyptian colleague Khalid Zaghloul while working on the development of the new headquarters of Iraq’s billion-dollar central bank.
Mr Pether’s nine-year-old daughter Nala took to social media early on Wednesday to ask the Australian government for more help.
“He’s been imprisoned in Iraq for over a year,” she said, clutching a stuffed rabbit.
“Please, Mr Morrison, can you help him?
“I really, really miss him.”
Her mother, Desree Pether, said Nala was inspired to film the video after seeing the daughter of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe making similar pleas for help.
Ms Zagahari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016 and spent nearly six years in prison before her release in March.
Last week Foreign Secretary Marise Payne dismissed suggestions from Mr Pether’s family that he had been forgotten and abandoned.
“I think it’s hard to understand the challenges a family like the Pethers face in circumstances like this where their husband and father have been imprisoned following legal proceedings in another country,” he said. said Senator Payne.
“I don’t agree with respect that we forgot Mr. Pether.”
In August last year, an Iraqi court found Mr Pether and Mr Zaghloul guilty of charges of deception, which face a $16 million fine and five years in prison.
Ms Pether said the pair have since been hit with new charges, as the Central Bank of Iraq tries to impose new fines for delays in building the new headquarters on the banks of the Tigris.
She told the ABC that her husband was forced to sign another document last Thursday, written in Arabic, demanding payment of the initial fine within a week – something the family said was impossible, counting. given the huge amount.
Mr. Pether and Mr. Zaghloul are due to appear in court again in a few weeks.
The ABC has contacted the Foreign Secretary’s office for an update on Mr Pether’s situation.
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