Posts Tagged ‘peter oborn’

May 2013

Is Interpol fighting for truth and justice, or helping the villains?

Daily Telegraph

Most of us take an entirely positive view of Interpol, the cross-border crime-busting organisation, even though we have only the haziest view of what it actually does. This is at least partly thanks to the influence of Biggles, hero of schoolboy fiction, who used to go on perilous missions for Interpol to track down international felons. Agatha Christie was another powerful influence. Her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot might have a discrete word with well-placed Interpol friends when he wanted information on some master criminal.

So far, so good. Unfortunately, Interpol is no longer the virtuous force it was. These days it doesn’t just chase villains. It aids and abets them. Its former president, Jackie Selebi, was recently found guilty of taking bribes from a drugs baron.

More worrying by far, there is now overwhelming evidence that Interpol’s channels are happy to assist secret police from some of the world’s most vicious regimes as they target and then persecute internal dissidents. It may once have been the case that it was the sort of organisation that helped honest citizens sleep more soundly at night. But many of the things Interpol has done over the past few years ought to wake us up at night, screaming.

Let us consider the appalling case of Bill Browder, the former chief executive of Hermitage Capital Management, whose colleague Sergei Magnitsky died four years ago in a Russian prison, almost certainly tortured to death on the orders of the FSB state security service.

Ever since then, Mr Browder, a man of courage and high principle, has demanded posthumous justice for Mr Magnitsky. In return the Russian authorities accuse the financier of corporate theft. Earlier this month, the FSB took its latest retaliatory action. It demanded that Interpol issue an “all points bulletin” to help locate Mr Browder – a move which is presumably intended to lead to his arrest and extradition. Any decent organisation would have dismissed this outrageous demand out of hand. Not Interpol, which is expected to decide whether to comply with the Russian request at a meeting today at its Lyon headquarters. There is every chance it will, if precedent is anything to go by.

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