Rapporteur on Interpol Abuses, concerned about 'Red Notice' arrests in Ukraine

“As Rapporteur of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on abusive use of the Interpol Red Notice system to persecute human rights defenders and opposition politicians, I am seriously concerned about new reports on arrests of journalists and persons who have received political asylum on the basis of Red Notices issued by Interpol. Two cases were flagged by “Reporters without Borders”, namely the arrest, on 14 October in Ukraine, of the Dutch-Azerbaijani journalist Fikret Huseynli living in exile in the Netherlands as well as that on 20 September of Uzbek journalist Narzullo Akhunzhonov, also in Ukraine,” Bernd Fabritius (Germany, EPP/CD) said today.

Whilst the case of Dogan Akhanli has fortunately been resolved, another German national of Turkish origin, Kemal K., who enjoys political asylum in Germany and whose extradition for the same crime was reportedly refused by the German courts already in 2007 was arrested during the summer, again in Ukraine, on the basis of a Red Notice requested by Turkey. It would appear that the filtering mechanism put in place at Interpol to avoid publishing notices targeting political opponents and in particular persons granted refugee status and whose extradition had been refused by a court decision is still deficient,” he concluded.

In Resolution 2161 (2017) on the “Abusive recourse to the Interpol system: the need for more stringent legal safeguards”, PACE, on the basis of a report by Bernd Fabritius, noted that the Interpol Red Notice system was prone to abuse by certain countries and called on Interpol to implement remedial action in order to safeguard this important tool for international police cooperation. Red notices, which allow police in one country to seek the arrest of a wanted person in another, should be circulated by Interpol only when there are “serious grounds for suspicion against the person in question”, the Assembly said.