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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

Interpol “pawns to Arab nations” as Abu Dhabi bids for presidency. Stirling calls for reform.

Interpol Abuse Expert appalled as Interpol, once again, puts its credibility on the line with leaked documents revealing Emirati bid for presidency.

Emirati security chief Major General Nasser Ahmed al-Raisi has made a bid to become the new head of Interpol. Veteran Interpol and Extradition expert Radha Stirling, issued a statement today:

“Interpol is complicit in numerous and serious human rights abuses and will soon be held to account. Interpol has become a pay to play organisation, open to manipulation and abuse by countries with poor human rights records. Countries like the UAE, Saudi, Qatar, Bahrain, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Egypt and China have been able to use the crime tool for their own personal vendettas. Countries like the Emirates have used Interpol’s reach to extend their jurisdiction beyond their borders, causing the arrest, detention and prosecution abroad of many innocent victims. Innocent individuals have been listed on Interpol, arrested, detained and tried for “crimes” that don’t even meet Interpol’s minimum reporting criteria. Journalists, activists, businessmen and credit card debtors have been locked up in Western nations at the mere request of countries who repeatedly take advantage of their membership with Interpol.

“Western countries do not make civilian arrests because they trust the United Arab Emirates. They make arrests because of their relationship with, and trust for, Interpol. Such trust has been terribly misplaced and abused, making a mockery of the entire crime agency and putting people’s lives at risk. The UAE has been the top abuser of Interpol in the Gulf region, reporting victims to Interpol as international fugitives to either punish or extort them and what’s worse, Interpol knows it. Every time Interpol cancels a red notice, they are made aware that the notice should never have been issued in the first place. But do they punish or sanction the issuing country? No. Do they compensate the victim? No. Do they continue to cooperate with and accept millions from that country? Yes. It is no surprise that while the UAE is one of Interpol’s largest abusers, it is also one of Interpol’s largest donors.

“The former President of Interpol represented China, before his arrest. China has been criticised for its own abuse of Interpol’s database, and now we have the UAE making a bid for the job. Interpol’s credibility is already at an all time low, with Hollywood movies failing to counter the growing awareness that Interpol is just a pawn, submitting to extreme exploitation by rogue nations for cash.

“The United Kingdom, along with a majority of Western nations, have refused to extradite to the United Arab Emirates because of the ‘real risk of human rights violations and unfair trials’. It is astonishing enough that countries with clear and repeated abuse of Interpol’s protocols have membership and a seat at the board but the potential appointment of Major General Nasser Ahmed al-Raisi though, would be sufficient cause for Western nations to fully withdraw all financial support for the crime body.

If you can’t imagine the impact Interpol has on real lives, think Hakeem Al Araibi, Bahareh Zare Bahari, Robert Urwin and Alan Stevenson. Imagine being arrested and prosecuted in Greece, Ukraine, Thailand, Philippines on the basis of a frivolous Interpol request from an abusive country. Imagine being swarmed by a police squad at a restaurant in Rome, humiliated, jailed and forced to undergo extradition proceedings. This is what we are dealing with. Countries like Saudi, Qatar and the UAE are enabled to abuse individuals in the West, without consequence, without penalty and even worse, at our own expense. This has to stop.

“The US, UK & EU countries simply can not continue to support an agency, headed by an Emirati who has been personally accused of human rights abuses and torture, without risking lawsuits. If Western nations continue to support the organisation and act on its red notices, while being fully aware of the levels of abuse, they may find themselves liable to damages.

We are finalising our recommendations to Interpol and advice to Western governments”

Radha Stirling is the founder of Detained in Dubai and 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.


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