Interpol Red Notice reports have a devastating effect on people’s lives. Victims can lose their visa status, employment, security clearance and their freedom while being perceived as criminal “fugitives”.
Interpol “fugitives” are perceived to be guilty even though no due process or investigation occurs at the time a Notice is activated and disputing a Notice is nothing like a courtroom. Even once an application to delete a wrongful Notice has been made, the decision is ultimately made behind closed doors and appealing an unfavourable decision is extremely difficult.
A number of countries have exploited the organisation, misusing it for political persecutions, human rights abuses or debt collection. Business owners have notoriously used the tool as a means to extort victims or loot corporate assets and prevent their former partners from taking action. Whether it’s a Sheikh, a government, a bank or a corporation, Interpol has left itself open to abuse and there are no consequences for anyone other than the victim.
Even after surviving the risk of arrest and extradition and successfully deleting a Red Notice, the damage done to a person’s career and reputation can be permanent. “Even when the Notice is removed, I will never be able to work in this industry again” is a common complaint amongst those in security or finance. “I lost my business and my clients after my name was splattered all over the media”, an issue for businessmen who were publicly branded criminals after opponents leaked news of their fugitive status. Some victims have struggled to keep their immigration status or obtain visas. Expert Radha Stirling explains “I am regularly required to provide expert testimony for immigration and asylum applications to prove the Interpol Red Notice should not be a factor in decision making and that the individual may face human rights abuses if asylum is denied”.
In cases where a victim has suffered a barrage of negative media coverage, it’s important to set the record straight. Stirling, an expert with more than 12 years experience, founded IPEX (Interpol & Extradition) Reform and Due Process International (DPI). “The organisations help victims of Interpol abuse to delete their names from the database, support any crossfire issues like visas and immigration and to restore reputations damaged by this abuse of process”.
When a Sheikh, the FBI or a contentious former business partner uses Interpol and the media to crush their opponent, their target faces a completely unique crisis that can have permanent repercussions in every area of their lives. Stirling and her team have confronted these issues head on for high profile business leaders facing reputational ruin. “We have used every tool at our disposal to ensure our clients have won in court and in the media. This has entailed everything from creating websites for our clients, ensuring international media coverage, creating podcasts and opening lawsuits against powerful opponents. We are now preparing a class action against Interpol themselves.
Victims now know they can get their lives and reputations back.
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