Once again, the Middle East’s use of Interpol to locate and extradite foreign nationals raises human rights concerns.
“The extradition of Osama al-Hasani is extremely concerning. Had he been arrested in the United Kingdom, Australia or other rights focused country, it is unlikely if not impossible, that they would agree to extradite al-Hasani. They would deny it on the basis of the likelihood that he would suffer an unfair trial, discrimination, human rights violations and even torture. The United Kingdom denies extraditions to the UAE where the risks would be less than Saudi Arabia.
“Countries like Saudi Arabia are well aware of this and hope that their target will be arrested in a country that is more likely to ignore human rights risks or to agree to an extradition on a quid pro quo basis, as with Christian Michel. This often leaves countries attempting to “jurisdiction shop”, to wait until a wanted person travels to a more ‘friendly’ nation, like Morocco.
“It is frankly astonishing that Morocco would agree to extradite Mr al-Hasani, an Australian citizen, to a country where he may never see the light of day again. While he has been sentenced to two years in prison, there is no guarantee that additional charges won’t be levied against him once he is extradited.
“We have seen what Saudi Arabia is capable of and this should be sufficient evidence for Australia to diplomatically apply pressure to Morocco to decline the extradition. More than that though, this case raises the very question of whether Interpol should allow membership to countries that have shown a blatant disregard for due process, for fair trials and for human rights. If the end goal of Interpol is to assist in extraditing people like al-Hasani or Hakeem Alaraibi, they have a duty and responsibility to disallow human rights abusers access to their database, regardless of how much they donate.
“Had Hakeem Alaraibi known about his Interpol notice in advance of his travel to Thailand, he would have been able to remove the notice before he was arrested. Similarly, al-Hasani may have been able to have the notice cancelled and may not be facing extradition now. This prompts the question: What is Interpol doing to ensure they are not supporting abusive countries in putting individuals at risk of unfair detention, human rights violations, torture and extrajudicial killing? Interpol is the facilitator of such violations and should be equally held responsible for their enablement.
“We have seen a significant increase in abusive, wrongful Interpol Red Notices and frivolous extraditions stemming from Middle Eastern countries. These notices lead to severe harassment, the destruction of lives, businesses and jobs and at worst, they can literally mean life or death.”