Detained in Dubai is pleased to confirm that Christian Elombo has been freed from Luxembourg prison. The UAE had placed Christian on the Interpol Red Notice database. The UAE makes regular high value donations to the international policing organisation.
Abu Dhabi reported Elombo for the “kidnapping” of Sheikha Latifa, daughter of the ruler of Dubai, after he was believed to have driven the princess inside Oman during her attempt to escape what she described as ‘years of abuse’ at the hands of her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. But when they were called upon to substantiate the charges against Elombo, the UAE was forced to drop the case entirely.
Interpol is an increasingly controversial data processing organisation that has been accused of allowing countries to abuse the Interpol system in return for cash donations. Their financial incentives & donations from the private sector have shown how potentially corrupt the organisation can be, leading them to publicly refund some donations.
Interpol has been made aware of the UAE’s systematic abuse of their membership but the abuse continues. The UAE manipulates the system by misrepresenting the crime, making frivolous allegations and private disputes appear to be criminal in nature. For example, a small credit card debt will be reported as a fraud; or in Elombo’s case, helping a grown woman leave her abusive father was reported as kidnapping. The UAE is one of Interpol’s largest financial contributors so it is unsurprising that they have turned a blind eye to the abuse of their system.
When we think of Interpol, we expect them to be competent, independent, and transparent. We expect them to uphold modern values of justice and to ensure that all reports of “criminals” they receive are thoroughly vetted to ensure no misreporting. The truth is, they publish and act on whatever data their member countries provide them with no screening. This has caused the arrests and detention of innocent people all over the world, damage to their reputations, their families and loss of income. The trauma of being jailed, as an innocent person, is something that they will carry for the rest of their lives.
Interpol has no safeguards, no transparency, no independence, no watchdog, and no compensation scheme for victims of Interpol abuse. In short, they have a LOT of power to hurt people but absolutely zero accountability when they do.
Interpol should disallow incoming notices from abusive countries and compensate victims.
Christian was freed after six weeks in captivity and this was the UAE again, abusing the Interpol database. The initial Interpol report was so baseless, in fact, that the UAE was forced to cancel it, but what of the 40+ days that Christian suffered in prison? Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, has been an Interpol removal specialist for 10 years and an expert witness in UAE extradition cases along with her colleague David Haigh who has also been a witness in extradition cases, met with Christian’s family who were very frightened that he would be extradited to a country known for human rights abuses. What about the legal fees lost when they instructed a local barrister?
Radha said “Again and again and again, not only is the UAE embarrassing themselves, but they have managed to damage the credibility of the once trusted international policing organization. Interpol has already been forced to refund donations due to allegations of corruption and partiality. It is clear that Interpol is turning a blind eye towards the abuse of its databases in return for cash deposits. The problem is now, they cannot be considered a crime authority, as they negligently treat as criminals those who are completely innocent, and who have not been and cannot be indicted even in the reporting country.
”I have dealt with Interpol abuse by the UAE on behalf of victims for the past decade. I would have thought they would disciplined Abu Dhabi’s Interpol station for misusing their membership, but it seems they do not want to upset relations with their major donor and are supporting corruption and abuse.
“Interpol Abuse is not limited to the UAE, but the UAE has been the top active user of the database. Once this was revealed, the UAE responded by hiding the notices from Interpol’s website so the public cannot see how many current notices they have active.
“It is not acceptable that major western countries remain members of the Interpol database, while there is no watchdog or ombudsman. Interpol’s allowance of abuse is causing major human rights violations including detentions and abuse; and countries should reconsider their subscription to the ill reputed organisation until this changes.”
Radha calls on countries who promote and value human rights to cancel their donations to Interpol and for any privately held firm who is funding Interpol.