Turkey refutes claims of negligence in use on INTERPOL Red Notices against FETÖ members

Yesterday Turkey’s Justice and Interior Ministries denied reports that they had been “negligent” in their pursuit of wanted FETÖ members. They explained that difficulties had been caused by complications with INTERPOL rather than deficiencies in the Turkish justice system.

After the 2016 coup, Turkey has sought to arrest and extradite anyone associated with FETÖ, a group linked to cleric Fetullah Gülen. Members’ passports were cancelled by the Turkish government; however, the INTERPOL General Secretariat removed Turkey’s authority to add data or circulate Red Notices on the INTERPOL database. Turkey has since accused INTERPOL of denying the actions of FETÖ members which they say amount to terrorism offences. Despite the complications, the Justice and Interior Ministries in Turkey have explained that they will continue to trace fugitives and have them returned to Turkey using “the reciprocity principle”.

Interpol European Regional Conference – Dublin

Today, at the 46th Interpol European Regional Conference in Dublin, Irish Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan announced that the Irish Passenger Information Unit (IPIU) will begin its work on the 25th May. IPIU will receive Passenger Name Recognition (PNR) data from air carriers, and then exchange and process this data with Europol and the EU other EU member states. Mr Flanagan explained that the aim is to assist in strengthening the integrity of the EU’s borders, help to thwart serious criminals and terrorists and overall enhance public safety.

DIRECTIVE (EU) 2016/681 provides that air carriers have an obligation to provide member state’s authorities with the PNR data for flights entering or departing the EU. The idea is that PNR data will become an important resource for police and law enforcers who are investigating serious crimes, for example drug/sex trafficking, terrorism and sex tourism.

Interpol halts “political” requests made by Turkey for arrests

Interpol has halted 50 requests made by Turkey for the arrest of people it is seeking on charges of terrorism. Interpol’s decision came after it determined that the requests were political in nature. Among those Turkey is pursuing are Salih Muslim, former leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, and senior members of the Fethullah Gulen movement, which Turkey accuses of being behind an attempted coup in July 2016.

Jordan seeks extradition of Walid al-Kurdi on corruption charges

Jordan has requested that Interpol issue a red notice for Jordanian man Walid al-Kurdi, 72, who has been sentenced to 37 years of hard labour on allegations of corruption. Mr al-Kurdi, a former chairman of the Jordan Phosphates Mining Company, is currently in self-imposed exile in the UK.

Bill Browder calls for Russia’s Interpol membership to be suspended

Bill Browder, who this week was sentenced in absentia by a Court in Moscow to 9 years imprisonment, has called on Interpol “to suspend Russia’s membership for flagrant abuse of the Interpol system” after Russia lodged its 6th request for his arrest and extradition. The previous 5 applications were turned down for being politically motivated.

The Russian court found Browder guilty of tax evasion and deliberate bankruptcy. His lawyers have said that he will appeal the ruling, which is based on allegations he has long said are motivated by revenge. Since his Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death in a Moscow prison in 2009, which he believes to have been at the hands of Russian officials, Browder has led a successful global campaign for sanctions on those involved and on human rights abusers in Russia generally.

Zimbabwe calls on Interpol to locate ex-ministers suspected of corruption

Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has called on Interpol to locate former cabinet ministers from Robert Mugabe’s administration who are believed to have stolen state assets during their time in power. Among those said to have been involved are Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, and Paddy Zhanda. All 3 were also key members of the group which planned for Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband as president.

Interpol accepts Palestine and the Solomon Islands as members

Interpol has accepted Palestine and the Solomon Islands as members, bringing the total membership to 192 countries. It has not yet said how many votes were cast in favour of Palestine’s membership.