22 July 2019, Monday, 13:39
We are in the same boat

"Red Notice" For INTERPOL

Andrei Sannikov

In recent years INTERPOL has increasingly been used as the instrument of dictators.

According to information in mass media provided 5 days after the event, citizen of China Meng Hongwei disappeared in the air. He took flight from Lyon to China on September 29. He hasn't been heard from since. His family asked the French police for help.

Mr Meng also happens to be President of INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization. It's not clear why his disappearance was so befogged. The plane successfully landed in China, Mr Meng Hongwei was on board. He did not disappear, he was arrested.  

In addition to his post as President of INTERPOL, he also served as Vice Minister of Public Security in China and member of the Communist Party Committee which the Ministry of Public Security supervised. However, six months ago he was expelled from the Committee; it was already a signal of future problems. Later a secret investigation was initiated against him; after his next arrival to China he was arrested on airstairs and taken for interrogation.

However, the heart of the problem is different. How could the current official of the totalitarian regime get to the top of the influential international organization? How could his election become possible?

INTERPOL makes its best to point out that the organization has nothing to do with politics, and only deals with police affairs - criminal tracking. However, in recent years INTERPOL has increasingly become the instrument of dictators to persecute dissidents and personal enemies of those dictators. 

The regime in Belarus often turns to INTERPOL to persecute fugitive businessmen; they are accused of reluctance to share with the dictator's gang. INTERPOL officials are used for political purposes. It's appropriate to recall how in 2011 former secretary general of the organisation Ronald Noble helped the regime to cover the truth about the explosion in Minsk metro.

Russia actively turns to INTERPOL to persecute enemies of Putin and to return Russian businessmen and their money back. Now and then they get the "Red Notice" - a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition. Such as, for example, Bill Browder, who persistently passes the Magnitsky Act, a law to punish human rights violators in the world.

In fact, INTERPOL is run by Secretary General Jürgen Stock; however, both the president and his deputies have a strong hold upon decision-making. The Chinese authorities used Meng Hongwei to persecute and extradite dissidents. Hundreds of "Red Notices" were issued.

Other authoritarian and totalitarian regimes also hoped for some assistance of Mr Hongwei. Given that for the first time his deputy was the citizen of Russia - Brigadier General of Police Alexander Prokopchuk, the situation for all dictators was quite favorable. 

A great personal tragedy may lie behind the arrest of Meng Hongwei. His very appointment initiallyimplied the situation related to danger to his life or lives of persecuted dissidents. The lobbying of authoritarian regimes and connivance of democratic states made his appointment possible. It's hard to explain why they did not reject the nominee who built up his career in China police, who protected tortures and lawlessness, and who was known for his unlawful activities in Tibet and Xinjiang. 

Surprisingly, now his fate depends on those civil rights defenders he helped to persecute. If they ring the alarm - Meng has a chance to escape; if they keep silence - he is likely to disappear.

The democratic world dozes at the wheel, while villains effectively act as one. Criminals, habitual offenders, aggressors, and dictators gradually lay their hands on international human rights and law enforcement mechanisms. 

It's the first time when a Chinese takes up such a high post in Interpol. However, representatives of non-democratic state took up the post during World War II. They were Reinhard Heydrich - the chief of the Reich Main Security Office, and his successor Ernst Kaltenbrunner - SS General.

Andrei Sannikov, Coordinator of the European Belarus Civil Campaign, Facebook