Race to stop Russian becoming Interpol head

Frederick Owens
November 21, 2018

Interpol has named South Korean Kim Jong-yang as its new president, replacing Meng Hongwei, who is detained in China on bribery charges.

"We strongly endorse Kim Jong Yang, who is serving as its acting president", Pompeo told reporters at the State Department.

Delegates from Interpol member countries will vote tomorrow to elect the next president of the France-based body, at a general assembly in Dubai.

"We encourage all nations and organizations that are part of Interpol and that respect the rule of law to choose a leader of credibility and integrity that reflects one of the world's most critical law enforcement bodies".

And in an open letter, the cross-party group of United States senators said: "Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the goal of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists.' The senators accused Mr Prokopchuk of being 'personally involved" in this strategy since being elected to Interpol's executive committee.

The Kremlin denounced Mr Prokopchuk's critics, with Putin's spokesman saying: 'This is interference.in the election to an worldwide organisation'. He said it was clear Prokopchuk would use the position to continue Russian abuse of the "red notice" system.

Britain and America will make a last-ditch bid today to prevent Moscow's chosen candidate becoming the next head of global policing agency Interpol. Meng's whereabouts are unknown, and his resignation was submitted by Beijing.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks with US NBC news network anchor Megyn Kelly at the Kremlin on March 1, 2018.

"Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the goal of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists", they added, claiming that Mr Prokopchuk has been "personally involved in this intimidation strategy".

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Kim will serve out Meng's term until 2020.

To Moscow, the complaints are all part of a Western-led campaign to weaken a resurgent Russian Federation.

Fears are rife that Moscow could abuse the Interpol presidency to target political opponents.

Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the German parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, told mass-circulation daily Bild: "As a leading member of the Russian security apparatus, Alexander Prokopchuk is part of Vladimir Putin's circle of power".

"Our team has suffered from abuse of Interpol for political persecution by Russia", Navalny wrote on Twitter.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the U.S. senators' letter as a "vivid example" of an attempt to interfere in the vote.

Browder has pressed for sanctions against Russian officials charged with human rights abuses after his former lawyer died in custody.

Browder, briefly arrested in Spain this year under a Moscow-issued Red Notice, said the Russian candidacy was an attempt by Putin to "expand his criminal tentacles to every corner of the globe".

If elected, he would carry out his duties exclusively in Interpol's own interests, the ministry said.

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