UAE Extradition Requests in Italy & Interpol Red Notice Abuse
We recently provided expert testimony for the defence in a UAE initiated extradition request to Italy. In this case, a civil dispute arose between our client and the (then) ruler of the Emirate of RAK. Our client sought civil relief through the UAE Courts but then became aware that the opposition was seeking to retaliate criminally. Our client fled the UAE, knowing that he could not win against such influential parties. He was later placed on Interpol and arrested in Italy where the UAE pursued extradition. Fortunately on human rights grounds, Italy ruled against extradition.
This case clearly outlines that retaliatory criminal cases are a risk to anyone who seeks remedy in the civil courts. Retaliatory criminal actions are taken for several reasons. Firstly, if the party is detained as a result, they will not be able to appear in the civil courts, thereby prejudicing his claim. Secondly, frivolous criminal actions against the claimant can be used as a negotiating tool by the respondent. We often see offers along the lines of “I will withdraw this new criminal case if you cancel the civil case”. Unfortunately, most of the time this works and it comes down to the fact that criminal cases are volatile, and the outcomes unpredictable, regardless of the available supporting evidence. Most people will not gamble with the UAE judiciary. Thirdly, it is a cultural norm to be legally vindictive by nature and registering criminal cases is commonplace in the UAE. Retaliatory cases (even pre-emptively in some cases) are standard and to be expected.
These core issues in the UAE have lead to a number of individuals being wrongfully reported to Interpol. Interpol does not review any of the evidence or detail of a Red Notice submission. Interpol wholly relies on the issuing member state to be submitting a genuine request. Unfortunately, this lack of accountability from Interpol has victimised innocent people and supported criminal behaviour in the UAE. Interpol’s immunity to legal claims has lead to their merciless attitude towards the victims of misuse. There is no empathy or consideration from Interpol towards victims of fallacious reports, evidenced by the fact that Interpol is completely inefficient and unreliable at reviewing treacherous notices when requested.
While it is obvious that Interpol has a vested interest in maintaining strong ties with the Middle East and in particular, the United Arab Emirates, it is their responsibility to ensure that their body is of the highest integrity in all respects. More focus needs to be placed on the Red Notice removal process. All applications for removal should be reviewed within a maximum of thirty days, given the incredible impact that a notice has on an individual. Interpol’s blasé attitude results in serious human rights breaches that will predictably soon, be tried in the appropriate legal forum.