In last week’s post on the Egyptian (since failed) effort to obtain Red Notices against NGO staff members, the focus was on the Red Notice aspect of the issue.  One of the readers, however, sent in this comment:

Great article and thanks.  But you did not mention how diffusion notices bypass any oversight or appeal and how these are completely nontransparent even to the point that the individuals put on these lists may not know their status.

The issue of diffusions was the topic of a post last year, here.  One of the reader’s points not addressed then is that of the subjects not knowing their status as subjects of diffusions.  Actually, the subjects of Red Notices frequently also do not know their status as Red Notice subjects until they or their attorneys investigate the matter, or until they travel and are detained as a result of the Red Notice.

Under certain circumstances, INTERPOL will acknowledge the existence of an item of information (such as a Red Notice) regarding a given subject in its files.  Its rules do allow, though, for a refusal to respond to a request for information if the request is deemed “inadmissible.” 

Given that a diffusion is often a precursor to a Red Notice, time would often dictate that an appeal for relief from INTERPOL would be against the Red Notice rather than the diffusion.  Nonetheless, as we learned this week, once information is unacceptable under INTERPOL’s rules, the form of the information does not matter.  Whether the item takes the form of a Red Notice or a diffusion, the underlying basis for the request must be legitimate under INTERPOL’s rules.

As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed.