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Stirling to lobby AFP on Interpol Reforms following Hakeem Alaraibi blunder

Interpol under spotlight for human rights violations over abusive notices

AFP to receive reform advice from Australian Interpol expert Radha Stirling in wake of criticisms over procedures that led to Hakeem Alaraibi’s arbitrary detention in Thailand.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have been widely criticised for notifying authorities in Bahrain and Thailand of Hakeem Alaraibi’s arrival in Bangkok.

Following her advocacy in Hakeem’s case, Radha Stirling, an expert witness in Interpol and Extradition matters and decade long advocate for Interpol reforms has founded the organisation IPEX - Interpol and Extradition Reform, to focus on addressing human rights issues related to Interpol and extradition protocols.

Stirling says “Several failings led to the arrest and detention of Hakeem Alaraibi in Thailand last year and it is paramount that Interpol and its member countries address these issues that could have resulted in grave human rights violations.

“Hakeem’s arrest is another case that highlights Interpol’s negligent or non existent system of checks and balances. Bahrain was able to issue a notice in violation of Interpol’s own protocols, against an individual who had been granted asylum from that country.”

Stirling introduced the term “Interpol Abuse” a number of years ago when it became consistently apparent that certain countries had been habitually misusing the database for political motivations, for extortion, debt collection and harassment, and Interpol’s own operations were being investigated for corruption.

“Hakeem’s case is clearly one of Interpol Abuse and has again, placed the integrity of the organisation at the forefront of international critique. The organisation has historically failed to penalise countries for wrongful reporting and does not penalise member states for repeated violations of Interpol protocol. Thus, there is no incentive for countries to comply.

“Australian authorities owed Hakeem a duty of care to inform him that there was an Interpol Red Notice against him, before allowing him to leave Australia, which would have been standard protocol for most countries.

“Instead, the AFP apparently informed Thailand and Bahrain of Hakeem’s travel plan, directly causing his detention and extradition proceedings that were only halted as a result of international media and campaign pressure on Thai authorities. AFP have however, disclosed that their internal protocols have not been reviewed, leaving them open and liable to future negligence claims.”

Stirling is preparing expert testimony and reform advice for submission to the Australian authorities. If such advice is overlooked by the AFP, and this situation is repeated or worse, if it results in the extradition or execution of an individual, they will face serious consequences.

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