Are China and Others Abusing Interpol?

A report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists accuses China and other countries of using politically motivated Interpol “Red Notices” to strike at dissidents and refugees abroad. Consequences for the accused can include frozen assets, detention and eventual extradition to face torture or execution.

Interpol’s chief lawyer, Joël Sollier, said the agency works hard to ferret out cases chiefly motivated by politics, rather than crime. “If we don’t,” he said, “we are dead.” […]

“You receive something from a country where human rights are not respected … where the independence of the judiciary is far from perfect. … You never know,” he said. “I would love to have only requests from Switzerland, you know? It’s not the case. The world is not like that.” […]

More than 2,200 of the published Red Notices were from countries listed as providing no political rights or civil liberties by the independent non-governmental organization Freedom House. These include Russia and Belarus — the fourth and fifth most frequent sources of public Red Notices seen by ICIJ.

Among the top 30 countries requesting public Red Notices were Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates, China, Rwanda, Vietnam, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq and Iran.

Among the specific cases cited in the report is that of Uyghur political leader Dolkun Isa, on which the Uyghur American Association provides further details:

World Uyghur Congress Secretary General Dolkun Isa, who became a German citizen in 2006, was placed on Interpol’s wanted list due to fabricated Chinese allegations regarding his involvement in criminal activities. As a political asylee in Germany in 1999, Isa was briefly detained by German police following his visit to the U.S. Consulate in Munich. The detention came as a result of an Interpol file containing Chinese allegations that Isa had committed murder in China. However, Isa was able to prove conclusively that he had been in Turkey at the time of the alleged crime. German authorities subsequently assured Isa of their confidence in his innocence and their knowledge of his record as a student leader in China, which had led him to seek asylum in Germany.

The same article notes the extradition to China from Kazakhstan of another Uyghur refugee, Ershidin Israel, on Interpol’s request. Interpol was also said to be involved in Isa’s detention in Seoul in 2009, after which he was refused entry to South Korea.

A condensed version of the ICIJ report is available at CNN.com.

July 20, 2011 12:40 AM
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Categories: China & the World, Law