“FactCheck: are Interpol red notices often wrong?”

July 9, 2013

The Conversation on July 7, 2013 released the following:

“”The Australian Federal Police takes [red notices] very seriously but knows it must examine the veracity or otherwise of those claims because quite often claims, even against Australian citizens who’ve had red notices out against them, have been found to be wrong.” – Then immigration minister Brendan O’Connor, June 17, interview with Fairfax Media.

O’Connor’s questioning of the Interpol warnings known as “red notices” came after the organisation charged with facilitating international police cooperation admitted it had made a mistake. Interpol had issued a red notice stating that asylum seeker Sayed Ahmed Abdellatif had been convicted in Egypt in 1999 of premeditated murder and possession of explosives.

Interpol withdrew those allegations, although Abdellatif still remains subject to a red notice on the lesser charges of his alleged membership of an illegal extremist group and of creating forged travel documents. He denies all the allegations, saying any confession was a result of torture.

O’Connor’s remark that red notices were often wrong is at odds with the statement by the Australian Federal Police’s deputy commissioner, Peter Drennan, that police “rely heavily on the Interpol red notices” and that he had never come across an inaccurate one before.

So how reliable are red notices? O’Connor’s claim is hard to prove definitively because credible figures about Interpol’s accuracy aren’t available. A spokeswoman for O’Connor’s office told The Conversation that the statement was based on confidential information he received while minister for Home Affairs. We’ll have to take his word for that, although his office was unable to provide examples of Australian citizens subject to red notices that later proved inaccurate.

What we do know is that countries are increasingly using red notices through Interpol – 190 countries now participate – to help locate “wanted” persons. In 2011, these international requests with the view to the arrest and extradition of targeted people rose to about 26,000 warnings (including all types of Interpol notices and requests) – in contrast to 16,000 in 2010.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Fair Trials International have questioned the effectiveness of Interpol as a crime-fighting organisation because of its limited internal controls to tackle political abuses.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe has called for reforms. It highlighted a failure to detect and prevent politically-motivated misuse and expressed “concern about the abuse of the red notice system by states whose judicial systems do not meet international standards”.

So O’Connor’s call to examine the “veracity or otherwise of those claims” is justifiable. We do know that red notice warnings are not always complete and have sometimes proved inaccurate. They are not legally binding and they are not always based on a court decision. Interpol’s acknowledgement that a person subject to a red notice deserves the presumption of innocence can be drowned out by political motivation and unreliable information.

Interpol’s credibility has also been dented because some of its members have poor human rights records and corrupt, undemocratic governments. Countries such as Belarus, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran and Indonesia have all been accused of abusing the red notice networks for political purposes.

Russia, for example, recently used a red notice request to encourage the extradition of Petr Silaev, a young Russian activist, on the offence of “hooliganism” – the same vague charge used to punish and imprison the punk band Pussy Riot.

Despite Petr’s initial arrest and detention in Spain, Spanish authorities later dismissed Russia’s extradition request as a form of political harassment. Nonetheless, Petr remains confined to Spain and on Interpol’s databases.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an Australian, and anti-whaling activist Paul Watson have found themselves subject to controversial Interpol red notice. Their supporters claim the notices were politically motivated, although Sweden (in the case of Assange) and Japan (in the case of Watson) would argue they have been properly applied.

Verdict

Interpol red notices should never be taken at face value. There is evidence that they are sometimes politically motivated and some have proved inaccurate, but claiming they are “often wrong” is a stretch.

Review

The check is correct. Out of the roughly 7,000 red notices issued every year, some are used for political purposes in contravention of Interpol’s own rules. There are a number of high profile cases which highlight this.

As an international organisation, Interpol generally accepts at face value the information submitted by its members. It is up to other nations to decide on the reliability of the information and to decide whether or not to action requests.

Australia exercises this discretion and any police action is testable in our courts in the first instance. Any request for extradition based on a red notice must go through the normal extradition process. But there is no evidence that overall the notices are “often wrong” and no Australian figures that would back up this claim. – Grant Wardlaw”

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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 Chief Libya mission to advance recovery of stolen assets during Gaddafi regime”

March 19, 2013

INTERPOL on March 18, 2013 released the following:

“Assistance in locating and extraditing wanted Libyan fugitives also high on agenda

TRIPOLI, Libya – Identifying how INTERPOL can provide additional assistance in the recovery of assets stolen during the Gaddafi regime and help enhance national and regional security were key issues during a meeting between INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan.

With Secretary General Noble also meeting Interior Minister Ashour Shuwail and Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz, high on the agenda of Mr Noble’s two-day mission (16 and 17 March) was INTERPOL’s active role in helping Libya identify, locate and extradite fugitives through the publication of Red Notices, or international wanted persons alerts.

“As Libya continues to rebuild its infrastructure following the 2011 overthrowing of Gaddafi, INTERPOL member countries can help Libya track down not only fugitives, but the millions if not billions in assets stolen by Colonel Gaddafi, his family and associates,” stated Secretary General Noble.

Libya’s Prime Minister Zeidan, Foreign Minister Abdelaziz, and Interior Minister Shuwail were united in their support of INTERPOL’s providing technical assistance and creating a joint public private task force that would collaborate with Libya to help track down and repatriate the assets looted from the country during the Gaddafi regime.

“These stolen assets need to be recovered so that ‘they can be made available to and for the benefit of the people of Libya’ as required by several UN Security Council resolutions. If INTERPOL is successful, then it will help Libya in its efforts to build a peaceful, secure, independent and free Libya,” concluded Mr Noble.

With security the highest priority in the country, the INTERPOL Chief’s visit comes just days after the inauguration of INTERPOL’s real-time passport screening system at Tripoli International Airport as part of international efforts to improve Libyan border security.

Under INTERPOL’s EUR 2.2 million Project RELINC (Rebuilding Libya’s Investigative Capability) funded by the EU, Libyan border control authorities can now directly access INTERPOL’s global database to detect stolen and lost passports, enabling the instant identification of persons seeking to conceal their true identity, including internationally wanted persons, suspected terrorists and transnational criminals.

The INTERPOL Chief’s visit also allowed him to emphasize INTERPOL’s ongoing efforts to help bring about the arrest of a number of fugitives subject to Red Notices issued at Libya’s request, including Colonel Gaddafi’s former director of military intelligence, Abdullah Al-Senussi, who was extradited to Tripoli from Mauritania in September last year as the most recent example of their success.

“INTERPOL’s Red Notices are proven effective tools in assisting member countries locate fugitives, no matter where they attempt to hide, and no matter how long ago the offence was committed,” said Secretary General Noble, pointing to the Red Notice issued for Faraj Al-Chalabi at Libya’s request in connection with the murder of two German nationals in 1994. One of Al-Chalabi’s co-accused was Osama bin Laden, who was also the subject of a Red Notice issued at Libya’s request.”

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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 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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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

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INTERPOL’s rules prohibit publication of Red Notices requested by Egypt for NGO workers

April 24, 2012

INTERPOL on April 23, 2012 released the following:

“Egyptian request for Red Notices denied

LYON, France – The INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France has refused a request by Egyptian authorities to issue Red Notices, or international wanted persons alerts, for 15 individuals with links to several US-based non governmental organizations (NGOs) after ruling that it would be in violation of the Organization’s regulations.

Following a review, INTERPOL’s Office of Legal Affairs concluded that the request is not in conformity with INTERPOL’s rules, notably Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution under which it is ‘strictly forbidden for the organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.’ This prohibition is taken extremely seriously by INTERPOL.

In addition to determining that the Red Notices may not be published, the review also concluded that no information about the individuals, 12 American, two Lebanese and one Jordanian national, which was circulated by the Egyptian authorities via diffusions, be maintained in INTERPOL’s databases.

Following the diffusion sent by the Egyptian authorities, all 190 INTERPOL member countries were advised that a legal review of the request was being conducted, and all 190 member countries have now been updated as to the General Secretariat’s decision to refuse the Red Notice request.

Similarly in the interests of transparency and openness, now that the review process is complete the General Secretariat can confirm this decision publicly.

In refusing Egypt’s request for these Red Notices, INTERPOL has respected its rules and regulations, however there has been much ill-informed speculation about this case and INTERPOL’s role.

This is not the first time that misleading and erroneous information has been circulated by individuals and organizations looking to further their own agenda or raise their profile on the back of false allegations made against INTERPOL.

Anyone seeking the truth about INTERPOL’s involvement, or otherwise, in any matter should contact the organization directly in order to ascertain the facts, rather than making statements based on ill-founded rumour and speculation.”

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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 C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Child sex exploitation offenders arrested in INTERPOL-led operation

March 12, 2012

INTERPOL on March 7, 2012 released the following:

Southeast Asia focus of global fugitive investigations

LYON, France – An INTERPOL coordinated operation targeting people suspected or convicted of travelling to Southeast Asia to sexually abuse children has resulted in the arrest and/or location of 20 individuals.

Operation Infra-SEA (International Fugitive Round-Up and Arrest – South East Asia) launched from INTERPOL’s Liaison Office in Bangkok, Thailand focused on information relating to 60 suspects from 21 countries wanted in connection with child sex offences.

“There is no safe haven for wanted sex offenders and Operation Infra-SEA is a reminder to those who believe that travelling to the other side of the world to commit child sex abuse will help them avoid detection are very much mistaken,” said Ervin Prenci, Infra – SEA Project Manager.

“By bringing together investigators from the countries involved to share specific intelligence about these criminals, Operation Infra-SEA shows the significant results which can be achieved in identifying, locating and arresting offenders, as we have seen with previous Infra operations,” added Mr Prenci.

Coordinated by INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support unit, the series of Infra operations are among the key initiatives of the world police body in supporting member countries in locating and arresting international fugitives.

In 2010, Operation Infra-Red (Red Notices) targeting 450 fugitives convicted or accused of serious crimes including murder, rape and drug trafficking resulted in more than a quarter being arrested or located, and new information provided on 357 of the cases. Operation Infra-SA (South America) in 2011 led to arrests across the continent, with more than 30 fugitives taken into custody in less than a month.

“Each of these Infra operations is a clear signal to fugitives who may have thought their offence was committed too long ago, or too far away, that this is not the case, and that they will be brought to justice,” added Stefano Carvelli, Assistant Director of INTERPOL ‘s Fugitive Investigative Support Unit.

Additional support to Operation Infra-SEA was provided through Project Childhood, a joint INTERPOL, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and World Vision initiative funded by the Government of Australia’s AusAID programme aimed at combating the sexual exploitation of children in the Greater Mekong sub-region.

With the conclusion of the first part of the operation, Infra-SEA now moves into the second stage of more focused intelligence and information analysis in order to locate and arrest the remaining fugitives.”

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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.


INTERPOL Red Notices

October 28, 2011

Within the last ten years, INTERPOL has become much more involved with their postings of the Red Notices. As you can see from a chart in INTERPOL’s 2010 Annual Report, there were only 1,077 Red Notices issued in 2000. In 2005, there were 2,343 Red Notices issued. Then last year, in 2010, there were 6,433 Red Notices issued. INTERPOL’s Red Notice system has become much more prevalent in today’s times, where one of the 188 member countries is seeking an individual based on an arrest warrant or a court order.

In fact, if you look at the number of Yellow Notices issued, INTERPOL-UN Security Council Special Notices issued, Blue Notices issued, Green Notices issued, and Orange Notices issued, you will see that all of these have increased from the prior years. The number of Black Notices issued in 2010 was more than 2005, but a few less than 2000.

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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.