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  • Andrew Harris

US urged to promote democratic leadership in Interpol



Interpol has come under increased scrutiny over the past decade, as countries notorious for human rights violations, have abused their membership with Interpol to expand their powers of arrest beyond their borders, resulting in countless arrests that never should have happened.

Interpol and Extradition Expert Radha Stirling, who founded Detained in Dubai, IPEX Reform, and the Gulf in Justice Podcast, has been the most outspoken critic of Interpol since she took on her first case of “Interpol abuse” in 2008.

Stirling has worked closely with policy and legislative advisors, think tanks and political figures in Washington DC, to encourage the United States to demand policy changes within Interpol that would stop corruption, pay to play scenarios, Interpol abuse, and the misuse of Interpol by countries like China, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi, Bahrain and Qatar who are notorious for abusing the crime organisation by listing journalists, dissidents, debtors and those who individuals seek to harass or extort on the red notice database.

After recent reports that an Emirati accused of human rights abuses and torture was being considered for appointment as the President of Interpol, the Heritage Foundation published a white paper by Ted R. Bromund, PhD encouraging the United States to promote democratic leadership within Interpol.



Radha Stirling, who just fought off a Qatar extradition request of a Scottish man for carrying a legal herb grinder from Australia to the UK, commented on the progress “It’s clear that the United States government is taking the issue of Interpol Abuse seriously.



“US citizens who have been listed on Interpol’s red notice database have been allowed to enter the USA without being detained.  In fact, airport authorities have advised Interpol “fugitives” to deal with the red notice and be careful traveling to other countries in the meantime.  These actions alone show the US government is aware and authorities are briefed that Interpol notices from the Middle East should not be taken too seriously.

“Sadly, not all countries are as informed.  In other cases of Interpol abuse, we have seen innocent victims locked up in foreign prisons for weeks, months and even in excess of a year as they fight protracted extradition proceedings.  Even when they are ultimately released, they are not compensated.  Where the red notice was found to be abusive, all Interpol has done is remove the notice.  They have not compensated the victim and nor have they sanctioned or terminated the membership of the abusive country.

“I’m pleased think tanks like the influential DC based Heritage Foundation are supporting our calls for reform.  Heritage has called for the US to pressure a democratic process to elect the President of Interpol from “law abiding” democracies.  This would hopefully eliminate Interpol’s tendency to appoint leaders from oppressive regimes like China and the UAE who are notorious for serious Interpol abuse and human rights violations.

“Heritage supports our opposition to the appointment of the UAE’s Major General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi as President, which would make an absolute mockery of the already damaged reputation of Interpol.



“Scandals, corruption, donations from countries with atrocious human rights records, with the Chinese former President’s arrest, with the Hakeem Al Araibi ordeal, with Robert Urwin, Alan Stevenson, Conor Howard and now the appointment of an Emirati General accused of torture, the organisation can not take much more before it is abandoned by members like the United States.

“Interpol’s integrity is at the cliff’s edge, and the appointment of Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi would topple it right over.

“With increasing support in the United States for reform, change is inevitable if the organisation is to survive.”




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