One of the most frustrating experiences encountered by Red Notice subjects is what one might expect to be a simple process of finding out whether they are actually Red Notice subjects. Once a person has been charged or convicted of a crime in a country from which they have fled (or perhaps never even entered), INTERPOL’s member countries may seek a Red Notice from INTERPOL to aid in the person’s apprehension.
Not surprisingly, many Red Notice subjects claim innocence. The fact that they are (or believe themselves to be) innocent often drives their decision to flee the country that issued the arrest warrants and Red Notices in their names. They often flee to avoid participating in a judicial process that is notoriously corrupt, politically biased, or violative of basic human rights. While the subjects usually know that they are wanted in a certain country, they often do not know whether a Red Notice exists in their names.
In order to determine whether one is the subject of a Red Notice, the most obvious course of action is to check the INTERPOL website under “wanted.” The Red Notices listed here have been published at the request of the member countries. The vast majority of Red Notices, however, do not appear on the website and are not available to non-law enforcement individuals.
A person who believes that she is wanted, but whose name is not published by INTERPOL, is left with the following choices in order to ascertain that status:
- Travel, and take the chance of possibly being detained
- Appear at a law enforcement agency and inquire as to her wanted status
- Inquire with INTERPOL regarding the data that INTERPOL possesses in her name
If the person chooses the third option, it is important that she or her attorney follow the regulations in force for INTERPOL so that the request is accepted. Once she knows whether she is a Red Notice subject, she can decide whether to challenge the Notice or not.
As always, comments and questions are welcomed.