Interpol drops ‘red notice’ for dissident Benny Wenda; case was mainly ‘political’

August 6, 2012

NBC News on August 6, 2012 released the following:

“By Ian Johnston, NBC News

LONDON — Global policing body Interpol has dropped a wanted notice for an Indonesian dissident after authorities ruled the case against him was “predominantly political in nature.”

Benny Wenda, who campaigns for his native West Papua to become independent from Indonesia, was convicted of inciting people to attack a police station and an arson attack that resulted in several deaths. However, he escaped from prison while awaiting sentence in 2002.

Wenda later arrived in the U.K. and successfully claimed political asylum, arguing that the case against him was a fabrication designed to stop his political activities.

Earlier this year, NBCNews.com reported that Interpol had issued a “red notice” for him, which alerts law enforcement agencies worldwide that he is wanted by an Interpol member state. Some countries treat red notices as an arrest warrant, but the U.K. took no steps to detain Wenda.

Interpol faces legal threat for helping oppressive regimes hunt dissidents

In a letter to campaign group Fair Trials International, the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files admitted the case against Wenda was “predominantly political in nature” and said Interpol had deleted the red notice.

“Interpol should be used to fight serious crime but Indonesia has been misusing it to threaten a peaceful political activist,” Jago Russell, chief executive of Fair Trials International, was quoted as saying in a statement. “We are delighted that Interpol has now woken up to this abuse but Benny’s case is not unique and safeguards are needed to stop other countries misusing Interpol and destroying lives and reputations in the process.”

Wanted activist Benny Wenda tells of ‘bows and arrows’ revolt

The statement said that while the red notice was active Wenda had been “unable to travel to attend campaign events to promote his cause” because of the risk of arrest.

A report by the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at the Yale Law School in 2003 found that “the West Papuan people have suffered persistent and horrible abuses” at the hands of the Indonesian government since the area was annexed by Indonesia in 1969.

It also accused Indonesian military and security forces of engaging in “widespread violence and extrajudicial killings.”

Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2012 said that the U.S. provides “extensive military assistance to Indonesia” and added that “impunity for members of Indonesia’s security forces remains a serious concern, with no civilian jurisdiction over soldiers who commit serious human rights abuses.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Interpol seeks West Papuan tribal leader living in UK

November 28, 2011
Benny Wenda
Benny Wenda was issued with a red notice by Interpol at the request of the Indonesians

BBC News UK on November 24, 2011 released the following:

By Danny Shaw
Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

A tribal leader from an Indonesian province who has been granted asylum in the UK has been named on an Interpol wanted list, the BBC has learned.

Benny Wenda, who is 36 and living in Oxford, leads a movement for the independence of West Papua.

Indonesia wants to put him on trial for several offences he is alleged to have committed before he left, including murder and arson.

Mr Wenda said the charges were “made up” and politically motivated.

Charles Foster, a lawyer who is supporting Mr Wenda, said the move by the Indonesian authorities was designed to stop Mr Wenda arguing his case for independence.

West Papua is an Indonesian province on the western tip of the island of New Guinea.

Mr Foster said: “It’s plainly affecting his ability to go around the world, doing the job which he set himself and his people have set him, which is saying to Indonesia ‘you have an obligation to have a free and fair election in West Papua and that the continued annexation of West Papua, Indonesia, is illegal under international law’.”

The government accepted Mr Wenda’s asylum application in 2002 after hearing allegations he had been persecuted by the Indonesian authorities.

‘Riddled with corruption’

Mr Wenda had been arrested for his alleged involvement in an attack on a police station.

He claimed that during his detention he was held in appalling conditions and threatened and beaten by prison guards and intelligence officers, who had tried to kill him. His subsequent trial was said by an observer to be “riddled with corruption”.

However, Mr Wenda managed to escape from the country and fled to the UK, eventually settling in Oxford with his wife and six children, and was granted British citizenship.

It has now emerged that earlier this year he was issued with a red notice by Interpol at the request of the Indonesians.

A red notice acts as an alert to Interpol’s 190 member countries that an individual is wanted by another country.

Anyone subject to it can be arrested and is liable to be extradited.

In Mr Wenda’s case, Interpol said the red notice was issued by Papua Regional Police CID for “crimes involving the use of weapons/explosives”.

“When I saw this it really made me scared,” Mr Wenda told BBC News.

This is Indonesia watching me, even here. That was shocking me you know”

Mr Foster said travelling outside the UK would in future be “risky” for Mr Wenda.

“Whenever he goes across a border his name is likely to flash up on the screen of the immigration officials and he’s likely to be ushered into a little room for questioning,” he said.

“Of course, the politics of that country will determine to some extent what happens after that.”

‘Peaceful campaigner’
An Indonesian Embassy official said Mr Wenda belonged to a “clandestine organisation dedicated to secede from Indonesia using any means available to them” and was wanted on suspicion of offences including murder and arson.

Billy Wibisono, Third Secretary (Information and Socio-Cultural Affairs), said: “Mr Wenda and several other accomplices participated in an attack of the Abepura Police Station on 7 December 2000 and caused the deaths and destruction of property.”

He said six police officers and civilians died in the attack, and that several government buildings and other premises were damaged.

“Weapons, firearms and munitions were stolen from the police station,” Mr Wibisono said, adding that the red notice would be withdrawn if Mr Wenda “can prove his innocence in our court of law”.

Mr Wenda said the allegations were “completely made up” and that he had always been a peaceful campaigner for independence.

“I was not even in the country at the time and Indonesia could not find a single independent witness against me. It is these political-motivated charges that meant the UK gave me asylum but, years later, Indonesia is still threatening me with them,” he said.

Jago Russell, Chief Executive of Fair Trials International, which is backing Mr Wenda, is calling on Interpol to withdraw the red notice.

“There are a number of countries which are using Interpol red notices against political opponents, or freedom fighters, so clearly Indonesia is in the case of Benny Wenda,” said Mr Russell.

He said red notices had been issued on behalf of the Syrian and Iranian authorities and that Colonel Gaddafi used the scheme in Libya.

“There certainly is a pattern of it having been used for political purposes even though it is expressly stated in the constitution of Interpol that that’s not what it should be used for,” he said.

Interpol refused to comment on Mr Wenda’s case but released a statement saying that red notices were issued only when details of a valid arrest warrant were provided by the requesting country.

“Interpol’s role is not to question allegations against an individual, nor to gather evidence, so a red notice is issued based on a presumption that the information provided by the police is accurate and relevant,” it said.

The agency added red notices would be withdrawn where the information provided was insufficient or “not convincing”.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.