Abuse of the Interpol system by countries around the world has been steadily increasing in recent years, with Gulf States leading the trend. Of particular concern are those countries which have positioned themselves as investment destinations for foreign business people, such as China and the BRICS nations.
“The overwhelming majority of abusive Red Notices issued by Interpol relate to financial disputes,” explains Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International, “Foreign investors can easily find themselves subjected to wrongful criminal charges in countries like the UAE when business deals fall through, or when they are defrauded by local partners. Even minor issues like bounced cheques will immediately be referred to Interpol after a conviction has been obtained, usually in absentia, and perfectly innocent people end up being listed alongside dangerous international fugitives.”
Stirling, who also founded Interpol and Extradition Reform (IPEX), has been the leading voice against abuse of the Red Notice system, and has successfully secured the removal of countless clients from the Interpol database. “We have a 100% success rate in getting wrongful listings deleted,” She explains, “The removal process is inordinately long and bureaucratic, while listing someone on the database happens with a keystroke. Interpol does no vetting of Red Notice requests, even from known Interpol abusers like the Gulf countries, China, and Turkey. They will agree to issue a Notice even when the nature of the request does not conform to Interpol’s own rules on data collection.”
The increasing cases of abuse prompted Stirling to launch a new service to help pre-empt wrongful Interpol listings, “We have built a relationship with Interpol over the course of more than a decade,” Stirling says, “Through our work, Interpol has become more sensitive about abusive Notices, and we have established an understanding whereby we can alert them that wrongful requests may be submitted to Interpol regarding particular clients, so that such requests may be first scrutinised for their compliance with Interpol’s rules before a listing is issued. With this service, we hope to be able to help clients avoid ever being wrongfully subjected to an abusive Red Notice.”
Stirling’s Interpol Prevention support marks a significant step in combatting Interpol abuse, and can potentially save innocent people from having their lives turned upside-down for months on end, trying to remove their names from the Interpol database when they should never have been listed in the first place.
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