The Case: Removal of Russian Interpol Red Notice
This case concerned an Interpol Red Notice issued against our client by Russian authorities. The Data Protection Control Commission (CCF) dealt with this case. The Russian authorities were looking for our client on charges of “fraud on a vast scale “. In other words, he was accused of embezzling funds on a large scale. In addition, he was accused of falsifying documents. Interpol determined that the case was based on a political element, and for this reason, our client’s data was deleted from Interpol’s files. We will go into more detail about this political element later in this article.
Our client was arrested upon arrival in Hungary following the Diffusion order by Russia. He was detained there as the extradition proceedings had not been completed. But even before an (unlawful) extradition to Russia could have been carried out, our lawyers were able to intervene and ultimately successfully prevent it.
Our client applied for the deletion of his data and the removal of the Red Notice for the following reasons:
- The case was predominantly political,
- there was a lack of clarity about the alleged criminal conduct,
- the extradition would violate his fundamental human rights, and
- the procedure had not been conducted properly.
Interpol is a neutral organisation and cannot be used for political purposes.
Our client argued that the data’s quality, accuracy, and relevance concerning his alleged offences could not be entirely relied upon due to some contradictions within the allegations. Such contradictions included conflicting witness statements and his own involvement in the alleged actions, which were wholly vague and unclear. Interpol Red Notices concern criminal matters, but the suspicion of a criminal offence was quite unclear in this case.
The Political Nature of the Case
As mentioned earlier, Interpol is strictly prohibited from engaging or being involved in cases of political interference. However, in this case, some elements were politically motivated. This determination of political motivations was given as one of the main reasons for the deletion of the data. Interpol acted per Article 34(2) Interpol’s Rules on the Processing of Data on this matter. This states that
… before recording data in a police database, the National Central Bureau, national or international entity shall ensure that the data comply with Article 3 of the Organization’s (Interpol’s) Constitution.
The political motivations, in this case, were established after careful examination of the case by Interpol. Particularly attention was paid to the decision by the public prosecutor in Russia not to press charges on ten separate occasions, although the Investigative Committee requested it. These decisions were made between August of 2015 and December 2017. When the final decision was made to pursue the case, Interpol agreed with our client’s assessment that no additional investigative measures had been conducted besides one other summary report. It later turned out that the person who had prepared this short report had been suspended and prosecuted for bribery and corruption charges. Therefore, it was, essentially, the same investigation file that had been turned down on several previous occasions. But it was not clear from the investigation file why there was a change of mind to continue prosecuting the case after all.
Our client claimed that the political nature of the case stemmed from the fact that he had been uncovering several corruption scandals as a specialised journalist, which some parties did not want widely distributed. He stated that this case was a means of silencing him. The commission took this information into account in its decision making.
The commission found that the prosecuting side did not provide alternative explanations or justifications to invalidate our client’s arguments. The prosecuting failed to re-examine the investigation following the suspension of those involved in the alleged bribery and corruption charges. The Commission stated that the prosecuting body’s response to our client’s claims was general and formulaic and, therefore, could not be taken as a conclusive assurance of the overall fairness of the criminal proceedings.
The Result of the Case: The Removal of Interpol Red Notice
This case was another example of a successful defence by our legal team. We worked closely with our client and ensured that the arguments brought forward were well-developed and supported by the appropriate evidence. We focused on the importance of Interpol’s neutrality when it comes to politically motivated cases. Ultimately, we achieved success for our client.
The Commission held that due to the solid political dimension of the case, maintaining the data would have proved to be a challenge to the neutrality of Interpol. Essentially, we demonstrated that if Interpol continued to keep the Red Notice in its databases so that any member state could view it, it would breach Article 3 of the Interpol Statutes due to the political nature of specific prosecution. In addition, doubts have also been raised about the validity of the allegations made. The description of the suspected illegal actions committed by our client was precise enough when held up to scrutiny.
We are convinced that we could offer our client the desired defence and, thus, prevent threatened injustice.
Legal Guidance with Interpol Notices and Extradition Law
Do you need legal counsel with extradition law? Are you looking for representation in cases concerning Interpol Red Notices? Look no further than Schlun & Elseven. Our extradition law team assists clients from all over the world regarding their extradition issues. We will work closely with you in preparing a thorough defence that will hold up to scrutiny. As seen in the above case, removing an Interpol Red Notice is possible with careful preparation and legal counsel. Visit our extradition law page to learn more about our services in this legal field.
We are a German law firm based in Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf and with additional facilities and conference rooms all around Germany. We have worked with a diverse range of clients in the past and have the required experience to be relied upon in such cases. Our lawyers will provide you with clear guidance in your case and competent legal support. Our services are offered in English as well as German. Contact us today to find out more about our services.