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NEWS

Pressure builds for INTERPOL reform

editor - November 25, 2013

Almost two years ago, Fair Trials International made its first public call for reform of INTERPOL, the world’s largest policing organisation, to prevent its systems being misused to persecute refugees, journalists and peaceful political campaigners.
Since then, we have supported dozens of people who believe they are victim to this abuse. Ahead of the launch of our major report this Wednesday, we recap some of the key dates and developments from our campaign:
November 2011 – Fair Trials highlights the case of Benny Wenda, a recognised refugee pursued through INTERPOL by Indonesia (where he had fled torture). We apply to INTERPOL to have Benny’s alert removed.
April 2012 – Members of the Legal Experts Advisory Panel, an expert legal network coordinated by Fair Trials International, meet to discuss INTERPOL and the abuse of its systems.
August 2012 – More than 6 months on from our submission, INTERPOL confirms it has deleted Benny’s Red Notice, acknowledging that the alert was “political” in nature. The case is covered by the BBC, NBCNews and the Guardian.
May 2013 – Fair Trials calls on INTERPOL to delete the data it holds on Petr Silaev, a Russian refugee and non-violent activist detained in Spain for 2 weeks on the basis of a request from Moscow. The case is covered on Radio Free Europein the Financial Times and by the Russian daily Kommersant.
June 2013 – Fair Trials publishes an exclusive video, in which Petr Silaev discusses his arrest in Spain. The video is viewed in over 100 countries, including Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
July 2013 – the OSCE - the world’s largest security regional organisation – calls on INTERPOL to “improve its oversight mechanisms for detecting attempts to misuse its systems” and “to enable individuals unjustly targeted... to speedily expose and end this abuse of INTERPOL.”
August 2013 – Fair Trials highlights the case of Rachel Baines, a British airline worker dismissed from her job following an unjustified Red Notice in connection with a civil debt. Following a submission from us, INTERPOL removes the alert but not before Rachel’s life has been turned upside down.
September 2013 – Fair Trials is invited to meet with INTERPOL's Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. INTERPOL issues a public statement welcoming Fair Trials International’s “constructive contribution” and pledging to uphold fundamental human rights.
October 2013 – INTERPOL refuses to remove the alert against Petr Silaev, giving no reasons for this response. Members of the European Parliament raise concerns over the protection of refugees in the EU. Fair Trials’ publishes a new brochure on the campaign.
November 2013 – We publish an informative toolkit for victims of INTERPOL abuse. We write to INTERPOL requesting clarification on how it deals with the much-criticised offence of “hooliganism” in Russia, and urging it to prevent its systems being used against respected democracy campaigner Anastasia Rybachenko. Our campaign is covered in the Economist.
If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on 020 7822 2370 or 07950 849 851.

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If you are a journalist interested in this story, please call the media team on +44 (0) 7749 785 932 or email [email protected]

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