UAE bid for Interpol Presidency: Statement from Expert Radha Stirling on Al Raisi
Interpol and UAE both under fire for corrupt practices and human rights abuses. Interpol, extradition and UAE expert, Radha Stirling issued a statement today:
“It’s astonishing that the UAE’s Major General Ahmed Naser Al Raisi has made a bid for the Presidency of Interpol, given that they are one of the most prolific abusers of their membership. It was in fact, the UAE, that introduced me to ‘Interpol Abuse’ and as I write this, I have just completed yet another red notice removal petition. Over the past decade, I have seen first hand, the consequences for victims of the Emirates’ ongoing abuse. I have seen lives ruined, families torn apart, victims locked up in devastating third world conditions, reputations damaged, life savings lost and severe PTSD.
“Every time Interpol deletes a red notice for my clients, they are made aware that the notice should never have been issued in the first place but there have been no consequences for the UAE. The lack of accountability has clearly emboldened the UAE to further violate their membership rules and continue to report victims to Interpol without due process.
“We have seen people arrested all over the world for the most ridiculous of alleged ‘crimes’. A British airline hostess was surrounded by armed policemen at a restaurant in Rome over an alleged 5,000 euro credit card debt. Robert Urwin spent over a year in prison in Ukraine over a HSBC bounced cheque, while others have been wrongfully reported for the purpose of harassment and extortion. We saw US national Najib Khoury reported by Hilton hotel tycoon Khalaf Al Habtoor because Habtoor was ‘offended’ when Mr Khoury informed him that one of his staff was getting mixed up with drugs. Captain Hervé Jaubert was misplaced on Interpol’s database by vindictive ruler Sheikh Mohammed who reported him for kidnapping Princess Latifa, despite the whole world knowing she left voluntarily. I have removed dozens of abusive notices for clients over the past decade but the damage each notice does to individuals is severe.
“It is time Interpol raised their standards. The mysterious crime reporting organisation is under the spotlight with suggestions for improvements and increased accountability. It is not acceptable that Interpol claims “sovereign immunity” in court. It is an unsustainable situation where Interpol can instantly cause someone to lose their freedom but can not be claimed against if they are negligent. Where victims can not sue Interpol, there is limited incentive to change.
“Not only is the UAE a repeat abuser of its membership with Interpol, but they are also known for significant and ever increasing human rights abuses. Most courts will not even extradite to the UAE based on ‘the real risk of discrimination, unfair trials, wrongful detention, human rights violations and torture”. It is laughable that a country whose own Interpol Red Notices are not respected by allied nations should think they are in any position to lead Interpol itself.
“I hold grave concerns about the UAE and their own lawlessness. They have recently violated international law in attacking a US flagged yacht at sea and kidnapping all foreign nationals onboard. They have repeatedly used spyware and intelligence agencies against lawyers, advocates, journalists, human rights activists and legal opponents and can not be trusted with unrestricted access to Interpol’s entire operation.
“And while Interpol has a history of corruption, no amount of UAE ‘donations’ should sway the organisation to damage its already tarnished reputation. The former Chinese president disappeared in a controversial arrest in his own country and Al Raisi would only serve to help us push for legal accountability.”
Radha Stirling previously wrote on Al Raisi’s potential appointment:
About Radha Stirling:
Radha Stirling is a leading human rights advocate, crisis manager and policy consultant, focusing on the UAE and the wider Middle East. She is the founder and CEO of British based organisation Detained in Dubai (which have helped almost twenty thousand victims of injustice over the past 13+ years), Due Process International and IPEX (Interpol and Extradition) Reform. Stirling also hosts the Gulf in Justice Podcast.
In 2010, Ms Stirling expanded her work beyond the UAE, dealing with both civil and criminal cases internationally. She has provided expert witness testimony in several high profile extradition and arbitration cases, while lobbying for Interpol reform.
About IPEX Reform:
Established by Radha Stirling, founder and CEO of Detained in Dubai, and a leading voice against Interpol abuse, Interpol and Extradition Reform (IPEX) is a comprehensive initiative to address the widespread and multilayered problems with the current framework of the extradition process, including the many flaws in Interpol itself as an organisation. Radha Stirling has successfully lobbied Australian Parliament to include human rights provisions in their extradition treaty with the UAE, appeared for the defence as an expert witness in several high profile extradition cases and has worked tirelessly to remove wrongfully listed clients from Interpol’s database. She has led the call for greater Interpol transparency and reforms to end abuse by an emerging “authoritarian nexus” which misuses the Interpol Red Notice system to circumvent due process.
IPEX demands that Interpol implement practical measures to ensure the protection of refugees from politically motivated malicious extradition requests, including the establishment of data sharing agreements with the UNHCR and national governments so that individuals who have been granted asylum will not be put at risk of extradition to the countries from which they have fled. This proposal is currently supported by prominent barristers in the United Kingdom, human rights organisations, and activists.
Furthermore, IPEX suggests core reforms to state-to-state extradition requests and Interpol protocols to ensure these processes will not be used for political persecution, extortion of debtors, and in an attempt to circumvent international standards of due process by instituting a global criteria for the consideration of extradition requests which include human rights concerns and the integrity of national legal systems.