INTERPOL deletes Red Notice against persecuted Uyghur dissident Dolkun Isa
INTERPOL has confirmed that it has deleted a “Red Notice” – an international wanted person alert – for persecuted Uyghur dissident, Dolkun Isa. The current leader of the World Uyghur Congress, Dolkun had fled China in the 1990s but was pursued by Chinese authorities through the international policing organisation INTERPOL. The decision has been greeted by Fair Trials, whose Chief Executive Jago Russell said: “For years Dolkun Isa suffered as a result of China’s attempts to stop him campaigning from exile for the Uyghur people. We are delighted that INTERPOL’s improved complaints mechanism has worked as it should and said “no” to China’s abuse of the Red Notice system.” The decision was also welcomed by Dolkun himself: “A Red Notice should never have been allowed to be issued on my name to begin with, illustrating the extent to which INTERPOL may suffer from strong politicization. Such a serious allegation from any state must be thoroughly scrutinized to determine its legitimacy – something that was regrettably not done here.” “I would like to thank Fair Trials for all of the persistent work that has been done on my case and hope for similar outcomes for many others in the same unfortunate position,” he added. Uyghurs are an ethnic group from the Xinjiang region of Western China, and are ethnically different to Han Chinese who make up over 90% of the population of China. They are widely considered to be a persecuted ethnic and religious minority, with the majority of Uyghurs identifying as Muslim. Dolkun Isa fled China in the mid-1990s, after being persecuted for his involvement in Uyghur causes. In 1988, he had been involved as a leader of the Uyghur democratic students’ demonstration, and as a result he was placed under house arrest and was kicked out of University. Dolkun applied for refugee status in Germany, which was granted in 1996. He later gained German citizenship. In 1999 Dolkun learned that China issued a Red Notice against him, demanding his arrest and extradition back to China to face politically motivated charges. As a result of his Red Notice, Dolkun has faced difficulties including detention arrest and detention in South Korea, India, the US, Turkey and Italy. In July 2017, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said “Dolkun Isa is a terrorist wanted under the red notice of Interpol and by the Chinese police.” But Interpol’s decision confirms the spurious, political nature of Beijing’s accusations. Dolkun’s case highlights the need for countries and international policing mechanisms to remain vigilant to attempts from authoritarian regimes to target dissidents abroad.