Interpol arrests fugitive at PA's behest
On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, an Interpol member state arrested a Palestinian male fugitive convicted of rape at the request of the PA. This is the first known time the Interpol has made an arrest at PA’s behest since joining the organization on September 27th, 2017.
According to the statement from the PA Attorney General’s office, the male fugitive was arrested for rape charges at an international airport. However, no information regarding the location of the arrest was given as per Interpol’s policy. The PA Attorney General’s Office is currently working to extradited the individual back to the West Bank “to take necessary legal measures against him” the statement added.
Interpol had alerted its member states of a Palestinian arrest warrant for the convict after the PA Attorney General’s Office had sent out a ‘red notice’ for his arrest. The statement did not identify the name of the man or the Interpol member state that arrested him. However, it mentioned that he was detained at an international airport.
Shortly after the Interpol accepted the state of Palestine as a member in September 2017, a senior Palestinian official had said that they would attempt to extradite wanted individuals back to the West Bank through Interpol such as prominent figure Mohammed Dahlan, one of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s top political rivals.
Dahlan fled the West Bank in 2011 after his home was raided by PA security forces, where a large illegal weapons cache was confiscated from Dahlan's home in Ramallah while several of his guards were also arrested, according to a source from the PA security forces. In late 2016, a PA court sentenced Dahlan to three years in prison on corruption charges.
One of Dahlan’s lawyers accused Mahmoud Abbas of using the court’s ruling as a way to crack down on his political opponents. Despite PA’s efforts to extradite Dahlan through Interpol, it is still uncertain as Interpol’s charter pledges it to remain politically neutral, prohibiting it from engaging in activities of a political, military, religious, or racial nature or involving itself in disputes over such matters.
Nevertheless, the Israeli government historically fought to prevent Palestine from being an active member in the Interpol since it might be used against its officials as well as a bargaining chip at future peace negotiations. As such, if Palestinian diplomatic efforts at the ICC and ICJ continue, this membership could potentially allow the PA to issue red notices against Israeli politicians or military officers and request their extradition.