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NEWS

Fair Trials event highlights global reach of abusive Red Notice alerts

editor - April 30, 2015 - extradition, INTERPOL, red notice

IMG_9635Fair Trials hosted a side event at the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The event was an opportunity to speak to justice representatives from all over the world and to explain why our campaign for the reform of INTERPOL is so important.
INTERPOL is the world’s largest international policing organisation, but it is being misused by countries around the world to persecute refugees, journalists and peaceful political demonstrators. The event heard from individuals, lawyers and experts working on the topic.  The 13th Congress focused on improving international cooperation to reinforce the effectiveness of efforts to combat emerging forms of transnational crime in an interconnected world. Our side event told the other side of the story.
The event, Cross-border crime and human rights: the challenge for INTERPOL, featured several speakers in person, as well as a video address by Bill Browder, whose campaign for justice following the death of his lawyer has led to repeated Russian attempts to use an INTERPOL Red Notice.
Our event also featured an address from Mitre Georgiev, a lawyer from the Center for Peace Studies in Zagreb, an organization very involved in the case of Vicdan Özerdem, a Turkish journalist and recognised refugee who was arrested at a border point in Croatia as a result of a Red Notice issued at the request of Turkey. The Center also hosted a conference last year on “Conflicts of extradition law and refugee protection law: Mutual recognition of asylum and non-refoulement among EU Member states.”  Fair Trials has seen a number of cases where INTERPOL has been misused to target people who have escaped a country’s persecution and been recognised as a refugee, only find that their protection only reaches so far.
As well as hearing from Fair Trials about the progress made on our campaign for simple changes to how INTERPOL operates, we also heard from Tomasz Kodrzyski, a human rights lawyer with Dutch firm Prakken d’Oliveira. He has been working for some time on the case of Azer Samadov, whose case you can read about here. Azer, a recognised refugee and naturalised Dutch citizen, was an activist and opposition figure in Azerbaijan, who fled the country for fear of persecution. Tomasz spoke at length about the frustrations that arise from attempts to get INTERPOL Red Notices deleted.
Just last month INTERPOL confirmed that they have introduced changes to the way that they operate their Red Notice system, at a meeting with Fair Trials. Fair Trials has been campaigning for simple changes to make INTERPOL a more effective crime-fighting tool since 2012, and these reforms are a really positive step. Our 2013 report and subsequent work have shown the devastating impact a Red Notice can have on refugees and exiled dissidents who are targeted by countries who misuse INTERPOL’s alert systems. There is, however, still work to be done, and we look forward to working with INTERPOL to make these reforms a reality.

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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