Q11. When can I anticipate a complete response?
As previously mentioned, the CCF must speak with the applicable national central bank to respond to your request. In certain instances, FTI has observed individuals wait up to two years for a response to one of these inquiries.
However, you may be able to secure a quicker response if you demonstrate that you know that INTERPOL’s files contain information about you (see Q12 below).
Q12. I can demonstrate that information exists in INTERPOL’s files. Can I request further information?
Numerous individuals are already aware that there is material in INTERPOL’s files: they may have seen an extract of the Red Notice on the internet, been detained and told this was based on a Red Notice or Diffusion, or been denied a visa or professional license based on this information.
If you can demonstrate that you are aware of information in INTERPOL’s files, the CCF may grant you access to that information without the NCB’s permission.
Consequently, you must explain in your letter how you know there is information and provide evidence to support your claims. Therefore, if you have been arrested and the paper you were given at the time of your detention states that this was done based on an INTERPOL alert, submit a copy of this document and explain the facts. Provide a printout of your Red Notice shown on the INTERPOL website.
Consult the Interpol request letter and Information application forms (Model Access Request No. 2) for a sample of the language you could use in a request of this nature. In several instances, FTI has received responses in as short as three months.
Q13. I am aware that INTERPOL has information about me in its files. How do I get it deleted?
There are three steps you can take to get your name deleted from INTERPOL’s files, according to INTERPOL.
First, you can request that the authorities remove the information in the country that issued the Red Notice. Each country has its laws and procedures. Therefore, you will need to consult a local attorney in the applicable country to determine how to proceed.
Second, you can request that your country’s authorities remove your name from INTERPOL’s databases. This is uncommon, and you would need the assistance of an attorney to pursue it.
Finally, you can write to the CCF and request that your information be deleted. Your letter must adhere to the standards for admissibility outlined in Question 7.
Q14. Should I first submit a request for access before requesting that the information be deleted?
Although this is likely to lengthen the procedure overall, it may be beneficial to submit an access request first. This is because the CCF may divulge information, allowing you to make more pertinent comments and reasons while contesting the material.
Q15. Should I write to the CCF myself, or should I hire a lawyer?
The best line of action is to engage a lawyer with experience contesting INTERPOL Red Notices and Diffusions due to the complexity of INTERPOL’s rules. The names of a few law firms with this type of experience are included in the Annex to this Advisory Note.
However, INTERPOL does not give legal assistance, and we are unaware of any country that provides legal aid to enable a person to contest a Red Notice or Diffusion. Consequently, if you cannot afford legal help, you may decide to submit your request.
Q16. What regulations will govern the CCF?
Due to the complexity of the regulations, it is once again impossible to answer this question in a few words. Nonetheless, there are a few essential guidelines on which you may wish to rely. Article 3 of INTERPOL’s constitution stipulates that the organization is “strictly banned” from engaging in political, religious, military, or racial activities.
Article 2 of the INTERPOL Constitution stipulates that the organization must act “within the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Lastly, the primary rulebook that the CCF will use is the Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD) (available on the INTERPOL website), which contains specific restrictions on Red Notices and Diffusions.
Q17. What types of arguments am I permitted to make under Article 3?
It is unclear how INTERPOL interprets Article 3 of its constitution. However, we understand that it compares a case’s ‘political’ and ‘ordinary-law’ (criminal) parts to determine which ‘predominates.’
Consequently, you should emphasize the political components of your case. We recommend that you structure this material in your letter using the following headings, which are based on INTERPOL’s regulations:
The nature of the crime, including the charges and the underlying facts.
In this section, you should discuss your alleged offense and explain how it can be regarded as a political act if you should clarify if you are accused of orchestrating a riot when leading a peaceful demonstration for a political purpose, including evidence (video footage, testimonies from eyewitnesses, newspaper articles).
In this part, you should describe who you are in terms of your political standing. If you are a political figure, you should present an explanation and evidence (for instance, a letter from political parties confirming your membership).
- Explain if you have a poor relationship with the government that issued the Red Notice against you. Explain if, for example, you have been involved in a campaign concerned the authorities. Include evidence (such as newspaper articles) to support your claim.
- You must indicate in this box whether you are a refugee. Make sure you offer evidence (such as your refugee travel document or the letter from the immigration authorities granting you asylum). Attempt to provide evidence of why you were identified as a refugee (for instance, if you have a reasoned decision, give this).
- The identification of the data source
In this part, you should explain why you believe you are being persecuted for political reasons. Explain if you think it is because the country frequently represses members of the political movement you belong to. If possible, provide evidence (for instance, reports by bodies like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, United Nations bodies, or local human rights organizations).
- The overall setting of the case
This section should contain additional information addressing the political aspects of the case. Particularly, suppose the country pursuing your detention had previously requested your extradition and was denied because it was deemed a political request. In that case, you should state this and offer evidence (a copy of the judgment).
You should give this evidence if the criminal case against you is well-known and has been covered in the media or if human rights organizations have expressed concern that the case against you is political.
Q18. What types of arguments am I permitted to make under Article 2?
Article 2 mandates INTERPOL to consider human rights in disseminating Red Notices and Diffusions. This rule’s interpretation is not entirely clear. Thus, we propose addressing the following points.
Freedom of expression and assembly
If you are a journalist or political activist and the Red Notice / Diffusion prevents you from speaking freely by barring you from attending gatherings, you must state this. Try to present evidence (such as letters from nations denying you entry clearance due to the Red Notice/Diffusion).
Danger of torture
If you believe that you would be subjected to torture if returned to the country in question, say so. Try to offer evidence. There may be findings from international organizations and courts indicating that people in your category are at risk of being tortured (ethnic groups, political parties, etc.).
Provide evidence if you have been granted protection against return to your country due to this risk (“subsidiary protection” in the EU or protection under the Convention against Torture in other countries such as the United States). If a considerable amount of time has passed after this decision was made, please explain why you believe you remain in danger.
Evidence acquired through torture
Please explain why if you believe that the evidence in the criminal case was obtained by torture. For instance, this could be the case if you knew that someone was beaten and coerced into testifying against you. Try to offer evidence (such as newspaper stories or reports by human rights organizations talking about the use of torture).
The Red Notice / Diffusion may still be valid if you have been sentenced to death or are accused of a crime for which you could be condemned to death if you are an adult. However, if you were a minor (under 18 years old) when the events occurred, mention this.
Q19. What are some of the most important RPD rules?
Among the RPD, you may wish to depend on the following rules in order to contest a Red Notice of Diffusion:
- Not relevant for international police cooperation purposes (Article 76(2)(b) and Article 99(2)(c))
According to FTI, this criterion implies that a Red Notice cannot be in effect if it makes a request with which no other nation could comply. Therefore, state this if you have been recognized as a refugee and believe that no country would be permitted to send you back.
FTI further feels that a Red Notice is of no interest for international police cooperation if it involves a “bounced check” offense, as the majority of nations do not view this as a criminal offense and hence would not be willing to extradite you.
- Not utilizing Red Notice in its intended manner (Article 82)
Red Notices are issued to “seek the location of a wanted person and his or her arrest with the intent of extradition.
Inform the CCF whether the country that issued the Red Notice against you has had the opportunity to demand your extradition but has not done so.
Explain why you believe the country is using the Red Notice to damage your reputation or prevent you from traveling.
- Conditions unique to Red Notices (Article 83)
Red Notices may not be used for offenses ‘that raise controversial issues relating to behavioral or cultural norms’ (such as adultery) and offenses ‘originating from a violation of administrative laws. Regulations or deriving from private disputes’ (which could include the crime of ‘uttering an unfunded cheque’ in the United Arab Emirates).