INTERPOL’s Power to Act Preemptively in Fighting Government Abuse

In May 2018, Spanish authorities detained Bill Browder, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.  It has been alleged that Spain acted on an active Russian request disseminated through INTERPOL’s channels.[1]  Prior to this arrest, INTERPOL had refused to cooperate with Russia, calling Mr. Browder’s case “predominantly political.”[2]  However, after several unsuccessful attempts to persuade the INTERPOL General Secretariat to approve a red notice, Russia reportedly put Mr. Browder on the international wanted list by disseminating an INTERPOL diffusion.[3]  Unlike notices, which are subject to the General Secretariat’s approval, governments can exchange diffusions directly, without prior approval from INTERPOL.[4] After Mr. Browder’s arrest in Spain, I called upon INTERPOL to inform the public whether it was monitoring all incoming red notices and diffusions to ensure that no such request enters its channels…

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