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Friday, September 24th, 2021

Measure targets INTERPOL abuse

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U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) reintroduced legislation this week to counter politically motivated abuse of INTERPOL by authoritarian regimes.

The Transnational Repression Accountability and Prevention (TRAP) Act establishes domestic priorities for responding to INTERPOL abuse while promoting INTERPOL reform, improving response to fraudulent use of INTERPOL mechanisms, and protecting the justice system from INTERPOL abuse.

“Autocratic states like Russia and China for years have abused Red Notices from INTERPOL to punish their political enemies,” Wicker said. “The United States and other democracies should not have to remain complicit in this global assault on the rule of law. The TRAP Act would push for due process at INTERPOL and codify regulations that prevent American law enforcement from doing the dirty work of repressive autocrats.”

The lawmakers noted that Russia is among the world’s most prolific abusers of INTERPOL’s Notice and Diffusion mechanisms while China reportedly targets political opponents with INTERPOL requests violating key provisions of INTERPOL’s Constitution, obligating the organization to uphold international human rights standards and strictly avoid involvement in politically-motivated charges.

“Autocrats increasingly seek to silence opposition beyond their borders—and INTERPOL has become one of their primary tools to harass and silence independent voices,” Cardin said. “The United States must ensure that dissidents and whistleblowers seeking refuge in the U.S. are beyond the reach of the authoritarian regimes that seek to punish them, even within the United States. The TRAP Act would be a major step forward in countering such authoritarian transnational repression.”