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International Advice & Assistance Services

International Advice & Assistance

INTERPOL red notices

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Our expertise in extradition, mutual legal assistance and cross-border criminal investigations means that we are ideally placed to advise individuals in relation to INTERPOL red notices.

Red notices are recorded on INTERPOL’s databases for instant circulation to police forces and border agencies around the world. By the end of 2021there were 69,000 INTERPOL red notices in circulation from its 195 member countries. Some of these member countries have persistently poor human rights records; some are in a state of political upheaval. Red notices issued by certain countries are highly likely to be tainted by political, prosecutorial or judicial corruption.

Our lawyers frequently advise on the following questions:

  • How do I find out whether an INTERPOL red notice has been issued for me?
  • How might I try to persuade INTERPOL not to issue a red notice?
  • How do I challenge and remove an INTERPOL red notice if it has been published?
  • How can I travel safely to a particular country if an INTERPOL red notice has been issued?

The practical and reputational impact of an extant INTERPOL red notice is far-reaching. It can render individuals virtual prisoners in their country of residence. It may lead to the closure of bank accounts due to anti-money laundering laws. Regulated persons, for example by the FCA, will need to make appropriate disclosures. Knowing how to respond to and challenge an INTERPOL red notice is therefore as important as knowing how to respond to and challenge a domestic arrest warrant.

Adopting an effective strategy for challenging an INTERPOL red notice will always depend on the circumstances of the case. An effective strategy may comprise a combination of any of the following courses of action:

  • working with lawyers in the requesting state in order to withdraw the local arrest warrant, which will remove the red notice at its root;
  • working with the UK authorities including the National Crime Agency (and where appropriate media and NGOs) to persuade INTERPOL not to issue a red notice in the first place or to remove the red notice and/or ensure it is not given effect to in the UK;
  • making representations to the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) if the red notice arises from politically motivated criminal proceedings, and so violates Article 3 of INTERPOL’s Constitution, which prohibits INTERPOL from undertaking any intervention of activities of a “political, military, religious or racial character”;
  • making representations to the CCF if the red notice arises from a civil rather than criminal dispute, and so violates Article 83 of INTERPOL’s Rules on the Processing of Data. These rules prohibit a red notice being issued in relation to “laws or regulations of an administrative nature or deriving from private disputes”. Representations can also be made using positive findings in domestic asylum and extradition proceedings to seek an ex post facto review by the CCF.

Our lawyers have advised numerous individuals in relation to INTERPOL red notices, including:

  • A number of businesspeople whose red notices were removed because INTERPOL accepted that the criminal proceedings were based on politically motivated charges in Russia and other CIS countries.
  • A former minister of a foreign government whose red notice was blocked and subsequently deleted following consideration by the CCF our written representations.
  • We used independent expert evidence concerning recent events in Bahrain to make successful representations concerning the removal of a red notice for a New Zealand national who worked in academia.
  • A Turkish national who successfully used the determination of asylum by the UK Home Office as the basis for removing his red notice.
  • A Russian national who applied successfully to remove a red notice arising from his conviction in the military courts of Uzbekistan on the basis of concerns about the fairness of the trial proceedings.
  • An Irish national who used his successful defence of a Russian extradition request to defeat his red notice on the basis that it failed to comply with Article 2 of INTERPOL’s Constitution.
  • Several former residents of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who were accused of offences arising out of civil rather than criminal matters.
  • Acting pro bono for Andy Hall, a human rights activist who exposed migrant labour violations in Thailand, making pre-emptive representations to INTERPOL to ensure that it did not issue a red notice.
  • A number of high profile Middle Eastern and Asian businesspeople, religious and political figures.