Critics urge Interpol to reject Russian chief candidate

MOSCOW • A growing chorus of critics is calling on Interpol to reject a Russian candidate to lead the organisation, over fears Moscow could abuse the presidency to target political opponents.

The Kremlin has denounced what it said is “interference” in the vote, set for today at the close of Interpol’s annual conference in Dubai.

Concerns have been raised over Russia’s previous applications for Interpol “Red Notices”, or international arrest warrants, for those who have fallen foul of the Kremlin.

Russian Interior Ministry official and current Interpol VP Alexander Prokopchuk appears to be the favourite for the position.

In an open letter this week, a bipartisan group of US senators said choosing Prokopchuk would be like “putting a fox in charge of a henhouse”.

“Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists,” the group wrote.

The senators said Prokopchuk has been “personally involved” in this strategy since being elected to Interpol’s executive committee.

Delegates from Interpol member countries will elect a new president to replace Meng Hongwei, who went missing in his native country, China, in September.

Beijing later informed Interpol that Meng had resigned after being charged with accepting bribes.

The other candidate running is South Korea’s Kim Jong-yang, the acting president, and whoever is elected will serve out Meng’s term until 2020. — AFP