To access all our features please use the Goodpods app.

Open the app

headphones

Pod Hostage Diplomacy

SenseOfDuty Media

We work to free hostages and the unjustly detained worldwide. Together with their families, we share their stories and let you know how you can help. Host, Daren Nair has been campaigning with many of these families for years and will introduce you to some of the most courageous and resilient people among us, people who have never given up hope, people who will never stop working to reunite their families.
 ...more

All episodes

Best episodes

Top 10 Pod Hostage Diplomacy Episodes

Best episodes ranked by Goodpods Users most listened

Earlier this month on 1st October, Jose Pereira and six other innocent Americans who were wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela for years were freed in a prisoner swap between the United States and Venezuela. Jose lives in Houston, Texas and was acting President and CEO for US oil company, CITGO Petroleum. In November 2017 shortly before Thanksgiving, Jose was instructed to travel to Venezuela with a few of his senior management colleagues to attend a business meeting in Caracas. During that meeting, Jose and his five American colleagues were arrested on false charges and were wrongfully imprisoned in the country. Collectively, they were known as the CITGO 6.
On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Jose Pereira himself. This is the first time we’ve got to interview a former hostage who we campaigned for on this podcast and we’re so happy that he is now free and back home reunited with his family. We interviewed Jose’s son, John Pereira in August when his father was still in prison and we discussed Jose’s detention in detail and the efforts to secure his release. Jose adds to this by letting us know what it was like from his perspective.
Jose walks us through his release from the moment he found out he was finally going home to the moment the plane landed in the United States where he was reunited with family after almost five years. Jose talks about spending 10 days in the US Department of Defense’s medical facility where he underwent the decompression process, meeting his grandson for the first time, how he’s doing now and his plans for the future. Since returning home, Jose has been raising awareness of other hostages and wrongful detainees held around the world. He tells us why this is very important to him. Jose also talks about the changes around the world that have stood out to him as he feels that he has been frozen in time for the last five years.
Jose talks about finding solace in religion and finding the strength to keep on going during his years in prison. He started out reading a mini-Bible in his prison cell under candle light which was smuggled in by one of the other prisoners which eventually grew to become a Bible study group with around 150 prisoners.
We discuss what the US government should be doing better including the difference in treatment of American citizens and American lawful permanent residents held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. We also discuss what it was like being left behind in March this year when the US government freed Jose’s colleague, Gustavo Cardenas and left the other five members of the CITGO 6 behind.
Most importantly, Jose gives recommendations to the families with loved ones still held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. We then end this episode discussing what journalists and the public can do to help.
If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on
YouTube.
For more information on Jose Pereira, please check out the following:

Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support the show
bookmark
share episode

Aya Hijazi is an American citizen and a humanitarian. She is the founder and Director of the Belady Foundation that worked to help children in Egypt who lived on the streets. In May 2014 when the crackdown on civil society in Egypt was gathering pace, Egyptian police raided the Belady Foundation’s offices and arrested Aya, her husband and her colleagues. They were wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt for almost 3 years.

Human Rights Watch called their wrongful imprisonment a travesty of justice. The US government publicly called for Aya’s release and she was eventually freed in April 2017. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Aya herself.

Aya gives us an overview of the political climate in Egypt in 2014 and walks us through her arrest, her interrogation in a police station where she was assaulted and accused of being an American spy, conditions of her detention, the medical issues she suffered from while she was in prison, her sham trial, using her time in prison to learn French, Spanish and drawing as well as how she found the strength to keep on going during those three years. Aya gives recommendations to other former hostages and hostage families on how to persevere through this trauma and tells us what she’s been up to since her release.
We then discuss what the Egyptian and American governments should do better, how the media can really help make a difference in raising awareness of a hostage’s case as well as what the public can do to help.

Aya also reveals that on the day of her release from prison, she was taken to meet the Egyptian Director of National Intelligence who forced Aya to attend a meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House – a meeting she didn’t want to attend. She was told there would be consequences to her husband if she refused.

Since Aya’s release, she has been advocating for human rights in Egypt and she talks about British-Egyptian human rights activist, Alaa Abd El-Fattah who has been on hunger strike for months as well as the murder of Italian citizen and Cambridge University student, Giulio Regeni who went to Egypt to research labour unions.
If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on
YouTube.
For more information on Aya Hijazi, please check out the following:

Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support the show
bookmark
share episode

French citizen and tourist, Benjamin Briere has been held hostage in Iran since May 2020. He has been sentenced to eight years in prison for a crime he did not commit. On the day of his sentencing, the French Foreign Ministry stated that Benjamin’s “completely groundless sentence is unacceptable.” He is one of four known French citizens currently held hostage in Iran.

On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Benjamin’s sister, Blandine Briere to find out what we can do to help bring him back home to France. Blandine walks us through Benjamin’s disappearance when he was in Iran, finding out he had been arrested and placed in solitary confinement for over a month, his hunger strike in prison, his unfair trial as well as how Benjamin and Blandine have both been coping with this trauma.

We also discuss what the Iranian authorities, French government and European Union should do. As part of this conversation, we discuss the open letter Blandine and the families of other European hostages in Iran wrote to Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. We then end this episode talking about how journalists and the public can help bring Benjamin home.
If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on
YouTube.
For more information on Benjamin Briere, please check out the following:

Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support the show
bookmark
share episode

Australian citizen and Irish resident, Robert Pether has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iraq since 7 April 2021. He and his colleague, Khalid Radwan were both detained in Baghdad after they went to Iraq to resolve a business dispute between the Iraqi government and their Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. CME Consulting which is an engineering firm was working on the new headquarters for 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. As a result of this dispute between the Iraqi government and CME Consulting – both Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan who work for the company - were detained and put in prison. In March this year, The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated that their detention is arbitrary and called for their immediate release.

We’ve interviewed Robert’s family twice before and since then Robert’s health has severely deteriorated. He recently underwent surgery which left him with a 15cm wound that became infected. To make matters even worse, the deadly unrest in Iraq has Robert’s family worried that any efforts to secure his release will be delayed.

On this episode we speak again to Robert’s wife, Desree Pether. She talks about Robert’s health, how he’s doing now, the recent call between the Australian and Iraqi Prime Ministers as well as the need for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to create a special team dedicated to bringing Australians wrongfully detained abroad back home. Desree also tells us what the Iraqi and Australian governments need to do as well as how the public can help bring Robert home. We end the interview talking about Desree’s concerns with the current deadly unrest in Iraq and how this may affect Robert’s case.
For more information on Robert Pether, please check out the following:

Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support the show
bookmark
share episode

US permanent resident, Jose Pereira from Texas was former acting President and CEO of CITGO Petroleum. In November 2017 shortly before Thanksgiving, Jose was arrested in Caracas while he was there for a business meeting with five of his other American colleagues. Collectively, they’re known as the CITGO 6. The US government has stated they are unlawfully detained and called for their immediate release.
On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Jose’s son, John Pereira. John talks to us about what happened to his father, the conditions of his detention, the unfair trial and the significant developments that have taken place in the last year including Jose’s heart attack in prison, a visit to Venezuela by US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens as well as the release of Gustavo Cardenas in March 2022. Gustavo was one of the CITGO 6 and is now thankfully back home in the US with his family.

John also talks to us about how he and family have been coping with this trauma, President Biden’s new Executive Order on Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad as well as what CITGO Petroleum, the US government, journalists and the public can do to help bring Jose Pereira back home to Texas.
If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on
YouTube.
For more information on Jose Pereira, please check out the following:

Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support the show
bookmark
share episode

Three weeks ago on 27th April, Trevor Reed was freed in a prisoner swap deal between the United States and Russia. Trevor is an American citizen and former US Marine who was wrongfully imprisoned in Russia since 16 August 2019.

On this episode, we’ll hear from Trevor’s father, Joey Reed on what it was like seeing Trevor being released, how they’re doing now, what’s next for the Reed family and what should President Biden do to bring the other Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad home.

There are very few people in the world who truly understand what it’s like to be in Trevor’s shoes right now. The ones that do tend to be former hostages as well. On this episode, we’ll hear messages for Trevor from former hostages – Michael White, Michael Scott Moore and Sam Goodwin. They give Trevor some good advice based on their own experience.

Trevor was not the only American and former US Marine wrongfully imprisoned in Russia. Paul Whelan has been held in Russia since December 2018. Unfortunately Paul was not included in this prisoner swap and was left behind. We’ll hear a message from Paul’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan for Trevor.

Finally, we end this episode talking about secondary trauma and how it affects campaigners like ourselves. For this reason, we’ll be taking a break to recharge and make some upgrades to our podcast. We’ll be back with our next episode on 3 August 2022. In the meantime, please do listen to all our previous episodes if you haven’t already. Thank you for listening to Pod Hostage Diplomacy.
For more information on Trevor Reed, please check out the following:

Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support the show
bookmark
share episode

Robert Pether and his colleague, Khalid Radwan were both detained in Baghdad on 7 April 2021 after they went to Iraq to resolve a business dispute between the Iraqi government and their Dubai-based employer, CME Consulting. CME Consulting which is an engineering firm was working on the new headquarters for 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. As a result of this dispute between the Iraqi government and CME Consulting – both Robert Pether and Khalid Radwan who work for the company were detained and put in prison. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that their detention is arbitrary and has called for their immediate release.

We interviewed Robert’s 18 year old son, Flynn Pether last month and unfortunately since then, things have gotten worse. Two new court cases have been brought against Robert and Khalid. They are also being sued for an additional $20 million USD.

On this week’s episode, we are joined by Robert’s wife and Flynn’s mother – Desree Pether. Desree talks to us about what happened including recent developments, how this trauma has affected the family as well as what the Australian government, journalists and the public can do to help bring Robert back home to his family.
For more information on Robert Pether, please check out the following:

Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support the show
bookmark
share episode

Last month on 1st October, seven innocent Americans who were wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela were released in a prisoner swap between the US and Venezuela. Eyvin Hernandez, an innocent American citizen who works for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office was left behind. He has been held in Venezuela since March this year. The US government has classified Eyvin as wrongfully detained.

On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Eyvin’s brother, Henry Martinez. Henry walks us through what happened to Eyvin including his disappearance while he was on holiday in Colombia and how his family eventually found out that he was being held in prison in Venezuela, the conditions of his detention, the last time Henry spoke to Eyvin, how the family have been coping with this trauma and what it was like to be left behind in last month’s prisoner swap.
We also discuss what the Venezuelan government should do, what the US government should do better including current issues with the US State Department’s process for classifying Americans held abroad as wrongfully detained as well as what journalists and the public can do to help bring Eyvin home.
If you prefer, you can watch the video version of this interview on
YouTube.
For more information on Eyvin Hernandez, please check out the following:

Get the latest updates on hostage cases we at Pod Hostage Diplomacy are working on including new episodes by subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter, the Hostage Briefing. Subscribe here.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Support the show
bookmark
share episode