Interpol Used for Political Suppression

‘Red Notices’, international wanted person alerts published by INTERPOL at national authorities’  request, come with considerable human impact: arrest, detention, frozen freedom of movement,  employment problems, and reputational and financial harm. These interferences with basic  rights can, of course, be justified when INTERPOL acts to combat international crime.

However, our casework suggests that countries are, in fact, using INTERPOL’s systems against exiled  political opponents, usually refugees, and based on corrupt criminal proceedings, pointing to a  structural problem. We have identified two key areas for reform.  First, INTERPOL’s protections against abuse are ineffective. It assumes that Red Notices are  requested in good faith and appears not to review these requests rigorously enough. Its interpretation of its cardinal rule on the exclusion of political matters is unclear, but appears to  be out of step with international asylum and extradition law. General Secretariat review also  happens only after national authorities have disseminated Red Notices in temporary form across  the globe using INTERPOL’s ‘i-link’ system, creating a permanent risk to individuals even if the  General Secretariat refuses the Red Notice. Some published Red Notices also stay in place  despite extradition and asylum decisions recognising the political nature of the case.

Excerpt from the Executive Summary of “Strengthening respect for human rights, strengthening INTERPOL” published by Fair Trials International, an NGO

Full Report, Nov. 2013

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