36 episodes

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.

Pod Hostage Diplomacy SenseOfDuty Media

    • News
    • 5.0 • 9 Ratings

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.

    SITREP Pod: Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    SITREP Pod: Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    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.

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    • 22 min
    Trevor is free, Paul was left behind | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    Trevor is free, Paul was left behind | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    One week ago on Wednesday 27th April, Trevor Reed – an innocent American citizen and former US Marine who had been wrongfully imprisoned in Russia for 985 days – was freed. Trevor was released in a prisoner swap deal between the United States and Russia. 
    Trevor is now back home in the United States getting the medical attention he needs and surrounded by his loving family – his father, Joey – his mother, Paula – and his sister, Taylor. We have interviewed Trevor’s parents twice on Pod Hostage Diplomacy and we are very happy for them. We are also truly grateful for the efforts of President Biden, the US State Department, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens and his team, the Richardson Center as well as everyone else involved in securing Trevor’s release.
    With all that being said – the US government should have done better. They left a man behind. They left fellow American and former US Marine, Paul Whelan behind. We have interviewed the Whelan family twice as well. Last Wednesday was a day of mixed-emotions for Paul Whelan and his family when they found out that Trevor was being released and Paul was being left behind.
    On this episode, we are joined once again by Paul Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan. She tells us what Trevor’s release and Paul being left behind was like for her, for Paul and for the rest of the Whelan family. Elizabeth also talks to us about potentially changing her approach to campaigning, Brittney Griner and what President Biden, the State Department, journalists and the public can do to free Paul Whelan.
    After our interview with Elizabeth, you’ll also hear voice messages from the loved ones of other Americans held hostage or wrongfully imprisoned overseas specifically Majd Kamalmaz held in Syria, Tomeu Vadell held in Venezuela, Kai Li held in China, Paul Rusesabagina held in Rwanda and Jamshid Sharmahd held in Iran. They tell us their thoughts on Trevor’s release and talk about what President Biden now needs to do to bring their loved ones home too.

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    • 1 hr 11 min
    SITREP Pod 2: Free Tomeu Vadell, American held in Venezuela | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    SITREP Pod 2: Free Tomeu Vadell, American held in Venezuela | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    American citizen Tomeu Vadell from Lake Charles, Louisiana has been wrongfully imprisoned in Venezuela since November 2017. Tomeu works for US oil company, CITGO and in November 2017, Tomeu was arrested in Caracas while he was down there for a business meeting with 5 of his other colleagues. Collectively, they’re known as the CITGO 6. The US government has stated that they are unlawfully detained.
    In October 2019, the Vadell family submitted Tomeu’s case to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD). It usually takes 6-12 months for UNWGAD to release their opinion on a case. It has been 2.5 years and to this day, the UNWGAD has not released an opinion on Tomeu Vadell. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Tomeu’s daughter, Cristina Vadell who talks to us about this UNWGAD delay and what needs to be done. 
    Cristina also talks to us about her father’s current condition and how he is coping, the recent release of Gustavo Cardenas who is one of the CITGO 6 as well as the backlash from US opposition party politicians objecting to the Biden administration’s engagement with Venezuela which resulted in the release of two Americans including Gustavo.
    We end the episode talking about what the US government, news media and public can do to help bring Tomeu Vadell home to his family in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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    • 40 min
    SITREP Pod: Free Kai Li, American held in China | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    SITREP Pod: Free Kai Li, American held in China | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    American citizen, Kai Li from New York has been wrongfully imprisoned in China since September 2016. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for his immediate release. On the 4th of November last year, a bipartisan group of 15 members of Congress wrote a letter to President of the United States Joe Biden urging him to bring Kai Li back home to the US.
    We had the honour of interviewing Kai Li’s son, Harrison Li in October last year. In recent weeks, the Chinese government have imposed one of the strictest COVID19 lockdowns in the world, in Shanghai. This is where Kai is being held. The prison authorities have cancelled Kai’s consular support phone calls with the US Embassy as well as his phone calls with his family back home in the United States.
    On this episode, we are joined once again by Kai’s son, Harrison Li. He talks to us about the recent developments in Shanghai, his concerns that the US government are not prioritising the return of Americans held in China as well as a disappointing virtual meeting he had with US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan and the families of other Americans held hostage or wrongfully imprisoned overseas. We end this episode by talking about what President Biden, the news media and the public can do to help free Kai Li.

    Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.
    Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)

    • 30 min
    Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    Free Robert Pether, Australian held in Iraq | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    Thursday 7th April 2022 marked the 1 year anniversary of Australian citizen Robert Pether’s wrongful imprisonment in Iraq. 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 is an engineering firm that was hired by the Iraqi government to work on the new headquarters of 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 are employees of the company were arrested 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. The UN Working Group also stated that their detention is being used to “exercise leverage in a commercial transaction, in violation of international law”. 
    Robert, his wife and 3 children live in Ireland. On this episode, we have the honour of speaking to Robert’s 18 year old son, Flynn Pether. Flynn talks to us about what happened, his father’s background, the conditions he’s being held in, his health issues, unfair trial as well as how the family have been coping with this ongoing trauma. We also discuss what the Australian government, CME Consulting, journalists and the public can do to help free Robert Pether.

    Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.
    Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)

    • 20 min
    Michael White, American, US Navy veteran and former hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    Michael White, American, US Navy veteran and former hostage in Iran | Pod Hostage Diplomacy

    Michael White is an American citizen from Southern California. Michael served in the US Navy for 15 years and is one of 5 siblings, all of whom have served in the US Armed Forces. In 2012, Michael met his fiancé-to-be, Samaneh Abbasi on a Yahoo chatroom. He then travelled to Iran a total of three times to visit her. During Michael’s third trip to Iran in 2018, he was arrested by the Iranian authorities on false charges and wrongfully imprisoned for 683 days. In June 2020, Michael was released in a prisoner swap deal between the US and Iran. 
    On this week’s episode, we have the honour of speaking to Michael himself. He walks us through his arrest, being tortured in prison, being forced to write a false confession, being put through a sham trial and being sentenced to 15 years in prison on false charges, getting COVID19 in prison as a cancer survivor who was still recovering from the effects of his chemotherapy before visiting Iran, assistance from the Swiss Embassy, being granted medical furlough and eventually being released in a prisoner swap deal. Michael also talks about his depression and difficulty reintegrating into society after coming back to the United States which led him to think about taking his own life. 
    Michael is now suing the Iranian authorities for $1 Billion US Dollars to get compensation for what they did to him. We also discuss what the US government, news media and the public can do to prevent Iran from doing this again.

    Follow Pod Hostage Diplomacy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with our work.
    Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/PodHostageDiplo)

    • 1 hr 40 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

IllImmigrant ,

Amazing work and dedication

Daren is doing amazing work connecting with families whose loved ones have been taken abroad and dives into the toll that it takes on the families and the hostages. I wish this podcast had been on my radar when my dad was taken in Venezuela, as it offers a great deal of information on how to navigate these difficult situations and the politics involved.
Thank you, Daren.

Vvadell ,

Inspiring, informative and compassionate podcast.

Daren Nair is an amazing host who has on the most resilient families I’ve ever heard speak. This show is truly a Godsend to these cases as it helps highlight them in depth and giving a chance for the families to go into more detail about their loved one’s case. The stories are heartbreaking but also inspirational to see how strong humans can be. This is a must-follow-must-listen podcast for all!! It’s truly wonderful to hear these families have a voice and many kudos for Daren’s hard work in helping amplify their message!

Ckanimba ,

A voice for those being denied basic human rights

The Pod Hostage Diplomacy team does an incredibly job highlighting cases of those held hostage or illegally detained around the world by corrupt and violent regimes. The families of hostages go through enormous pain, this podcast series is platform to share their stories and call for action among the diplomatic leaders of our world. Thank you Daren and everyone at Pod Hostage Diplomacy for giving a voice to those being silenced. These cases need more attention from the global community.

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