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Interpol under fire for lifting ‘corrective measures’ on Syria put in place after 2011

October 6, 2021 at 12:55 pm

Interpol’s headquarters on 19 October 2019 [FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images]

Syria has been granted access to Interpol’s secure global police communications network, in a move that has drawn widespread criticism.

A report has detailed how with this development, the Syrian regime can extradite, arrest and persecute the Syrian opposition in exile and stand in the way of Syrian refugees seeking asylum.

Interpol is an international criminal police organisation that facilitates worldwide police cooperation. Interpol issues red notices which request law enforcement around the world to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition or surrender, according to its own website.

Fears are that the Syrian regime will issue these red notices to political dissidents who have escaped the country since the uprising and subsequent war in 2011.

Tens of thousands of Syrians have been disappeared inside prisons where they are systematically tortured. Some have never reappeared.

READ: Egypt is keen to see an end to Syria crisis

Families of people who have left the country have been targeted as a punitive measure against leaving, speaking out about the regime, or taking part in the uprising against authorities.

An Interpol spokesman sent a statement to MEMO: “The recommendation to lift the corrective measures was made following close monitoring of messages from NCB Damascus. In line with the recommendation from the General Secretariat headquarters, INTERPOL’s Executive Committee endorsed that corrective measures applied to Syria be lifted.”

“This means that similar to other NCBs, NCB Damascus can directly send and receive messages from other member countries. Member countries maintain full control of the data they provide to INTERPOL and decide which NCBs get to see their information.”