Alex Tinsley secures INTERPOL red notice deletions

30 September 2020

Alex Tinsley, instructed on a public access basis, has secured the deletion of two INTERPOL red notices issued on behalf of Gulf state authorities seeking arrest on the basis of in absentia “unfunded cheque” convictions.

Red Notices are electronic alerts issued by INTERPOL at the request of national police which seek the arrest of a person with a view to extradition. There has long been a problem of such notices being used by some states to target refugees and exiled political opponents or on charges arising from private disputes.

Both of these cases involved typical stories of European nationals who relocated to Gulf states and took out loans, providing banks with un-dated cheques as security as is the practice in the region. If loan repayments fail, the cheques are cashed to recover the balance and, if they bounce, an offence is deemed to have been committed even if there had been every intention to repay the loan when it was given. This approach to criminal responsibility is inconsistent with that of most states, which see only civil liability arising in such circumstances (see e.g. Allen v UAE [2012] EWHC 1712 (Admin) in this jurisdiction). For this reason, INTERPOL has come to see red notices based on this sort of offence as incompatible with its rules (which limit its involvement to ‘serious ordinary law crimes’ and exclude civil matters), unless “elements of fraudulent activity or intent” are identified.

In these cases, the clients instructed Alex directly under the public access scheme via 9 Bedford Row’s Red Notice Desk. The Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF), which hears complaints in relation to INTERPOL data processing, found that the red notices were not based on serious ordinary law crimes, noting that detention on account of debt is regarded as arbitrary detention contrary to human rights law.

 For more information on INTERPOL, see some of Alex’s publications:

  • ‘Extradition, Brexit, INTERPOL and the General Election’, 9BR seminar (here)
  • ‘Echoes of Kadi: Reforms to Internal Remedies at INTERPOL’, EJIL:Talk! (here)
  • ‘INTERPOL “wanted” alerts: using them as evidence and making them go away’, Free movement (here)
  • ‘Political abuse of INTERPOL Red Notices and diffusions’, Foreign Policy Centre (here)

To instruct or speak to Alex, contact us at clerks@9bedfordrow.co.uk

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