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  • Writer's pictureDetained in Dubai

UK bid for Secretary General of Interpol

Will the appointment of a British Secretary General promote human rights within the organisation?

Interpol’s controversial appointment of the United Arab Emirates’ General Al Raisi as President did little to help redeem the body’s credibility, particularly after a number of victims filed official complaints against him for torture and gross human rights violations. “The appointment of Al Raisi was unsurprising”, suggests veteran Interpol expert, Radha Stirling, founder of IPEX Reform. “Before Al Raisi, the presidency was held by China and when the president was mysteriously detained, the office went from one authoritarian state to the next”.

Now, Stephen Kavanagh, a former London police officer, has made a bid for the Secretary General of Interpol, supported by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Some hope that his potential election would help in reducing or eliminating “Interpol Abuse”, but Stirling says “Germany’s Jürgen Stock has held office for over a decade. He has been interviewed multiple times by top level journalists who have questioned him regarding wrongful Interpol Red Notices and the systematic abuse by member states. I have personally dealt with hundreds of abusive Red Notices and the consequences of these over the past 16 years. Despite Mr Stock’s full awareness of the repeat abuses, little has been done to prevent recurrence and nothing at all has been done to sanction member states who engage in the practice.

“I have little confidence that Kavanagh's appointment would necessarily result in any positive reforms on this level, but we will certainly lobby for our suggested reviews and policy changes in the event of his election.

“As it stands, an individual can be published on Interpol’s databases in an instant but it takes a minimum of nine months to have an unfair notice deleted. During this time, individuals can be arrested, detained, subject to extradition proceedings, lose their jobs and their freedom. There is zero compensation and zero accountability. This simply has to stop”.

Stirling is an Interpol and extradition expert with sixteen years experience in deleting notices, preventing them, defending clients against extradition requests, providing expert testimony and lobbying for change.


Radha Stirling

+44 7 309 114 195


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