Demonizing Dissidents: How INTERPOL is being abused by dictatorships

Next month, Fair Trials is hosting an event in Washington, D.C. with Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute, examining the way that INTERPOL is being misused by countries around the world to persecute refugees, journalists and peaceful political demonstrators, to devastating effect.

In recent years, the use of INTERPOL’s “wanted person” alerts has expanded vastly with over 120,000 now circulating across the globe. Unfortunately, as it has become easier for countries to obtain INTERPOL Red Notices, some have been used as an instrument for silencing dissent and exporting repression with devastating consequences.

Join us to discuss how INTERPOL is starting to address this problem which has been undermining its reputation as the global “good guys” in the fight against crime, and hear from people whose lives have been turned upside down by Red Notices, including:

Sherif Mansour, an Egyptian-American democracy and human rights activist working for the Committee to Protect Journalists, who was one of the 43 NGO workers charged in Egypt of operating without a license and receiving foreign funding, as part of a crackdown on independent civil society groups in the country.

The INTERPOL alert that followed was described by the US government as “politically motivated”.

Benny Wenda, a West Papuan tribal leader who leads an international campaign for the people of West Papua. Due to his activities he was persecuted by the Indonesian government, subjected to torture and a politically-motivated prosecution before escaping and receiving asylum in Europe.

Despite being a recognised refugee, Benny found himself with a public Red Notice against him.

Lutfullo Shamsutdinov, a human rights activist and witness of the Andijan massacre. He was forced to escape Uzbekistan after reporting on the massacre, and was later granted asylum in the US.

He has been hunted since 2005 by the Uzbek authorities, who convinced INTERPOL to issue a warrant to detain him. Due to an INTERPOL alert, Lutfullo’s life was put on hold for five years, unable to get a Green Card, and with it the right to work or travel in the US.

Patricia Poleo – an award-winning anti-corruption journalist and vocal critic of Hugo Chavez, subject to a Red Notice from Venezuela. Patricia had been brought before military tribunals several times within Venezuela, prompting the Inter-American Commission to recommend that measures be taken to ensure her safety.

Patricia was given asylum in the U.S. but was arrested on a trip to Peru due to a Red Notice.

WHEN: Monday, November 9, 2015 3:00 – 6:00pm

WHERE: Gewirz Student Center

Georgetown Law Center

600 New Jersey Ave., N.W.

Washington, DC

You can sign up to the free event here.