The Politico's January 24, 2023 Foreign Affairs Opinion piece by Ben Keith and Ted R. Bromund1 Opinion | Interpol Is Doing Russia’s Dirty Work includes the following:

That’s technically true; the provision for suspension isn’t in Interpol’s Constitution. It’s in Article 131 of Interpol’s Rules on the Processing of Data, which entitles Interpol to suspend the access rights of any member state for up to three months.

Moreover, if Interpol’s Executive Committee approves, a nation can receive a “long-term suspension.” Unfortunately, that committee is currently dominated by autocracies and Interpol abusers. It’s unlikely that the UAE, China, Egypt and Turkey will vote to suspend one of their comrades in abuse.

Interpol’s defense for its inaction — a defense regularly reiterated by its secretary general, Jürgen Stock — is that Interpol was founded on neutrality and on apolitical cooperation against ordinary law crimes: offenses like murder, rape and robbery.

I can understand why some of the countries listed might be labeled autocracies by the opinion's authors, but could answers focus on two other aspects of the assertion:

  1. "that committee is currently dominated by" Is it a numerical superiority? Is it being dominated in other ways?
  2. "and Interpol abusers" Are there widespread and/or substantiated cases of Interpol abuse" reported? Could some of this be argued to be abuse with political motivations?

1"Ben Keith is a London barrister specializing in cross-border and international cases at 5 St. Andrew’s Hill. Ted R. Bromund is a senior research fellow with The Heritage Foundation’s Thatcher Center for Freedom."

  • 2
    Just putting 'Interpol’s Executive Committee' into a search engine, this committee has 13 members in total and is currently being led by the member from UAE.
    – quarague
    Jan 26 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


Regarding point #2, I'm not sure about most of those countries, but I recall that there were pieces in the US press, like this one (albeit that's labelled opinion) from UHRP affiliates that China had been abusing Interpol notices to get some Uyghur opposition.

Our research revealed that 1,338 Uyghurs have been detained or deported from 18 countries since 2014. None of these individuals have a history of terrorism or extremism.Our research revealed that 1,338 Uyghurs have been detained or deported from 18 countries since 2014. None of these individuals have a history of terrorism or extremism.

It's not immediately clear how many of those were due to Interpol notices, but they give some examples like:

Prominent examples include Idris Hasan (also known as Yidiresi Aishan), who lived in Turkey since 2012. A Uyghur software engineer, he did not know that the Chinese government issued a red notice against him until he was detained in Morocco in July 2021, while transiting Casablanca Airport. Activists worked to draw attention to his detention, resulting in the suspension of the red notice while Interpol reviewed the case. It was then canceled for being "non-compliant" with Articles 2 and 3 of the organization's constitution. Hasan remains in custody in Rabat fighting a direct extradition request from the Chinese government.

Turkey is also well known for seeking extradition from the US of some people it accuses of masterminding coups etc. There is one story in the Guardian saying that:

Turkish authorities have been accused of repeatedly swamping the police organisation [Interpol] with requests targeting political opponents.

And in an older story

Turkey says Interpol has rejected 773 requests to detain people over suspected links with the popular movement Hizmet, led by the US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Interpol confirmed the figure was more than 700).

I'm not sure about UAE, but that story also gives an example of Bahrain opposition figures being issued Interpol notices for "vandalism".

UAE might have been mentioned because of the torture allegation levelled against their candidate for the Interpol chief post. Aside (from the latter article), Interpol has a surprisingly small budget, and so the UAE was apparently able to exceed the contributions of all other members combined, for that year, with a donation.

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