INTERPOL has issued a statement saying it is not involved in the arrest or deportation of Saudi blogger, Hamza Kashgari:

‘INTERPOL confirms that it has NOT been involved in the case involving a Saudi blogger arrested in Malaysia and deported to Saudi Arabia. No INTERPOL channels, its National Central Bureaus in Kuala Lumpur and Riyadh nor its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France were involved at any time in this case.

If it says so – though I am skeptical especially since it has done this before.

In 2009, a number of us wrote to its office complaining about Iranian opposition leaders being included on its wanted list at the request of the Islamic regime of Iran! In a response to Fariborz Pooya’s complaint this is what its Legal Affairs Office wrote:

From: Office of Legal Affairs – General Secretariat

Our Ref.: OLA/35010-176/5.2./CG/EH/vp

Date: 15 January 2010

Subject: Your request to INTERPOL dated 13 December 2009

Dear Mr Pooya,

The INTERPOL General Secretariat acknowledges receipt of your message on 13 December 2009, concerning Mr Kurosh Modaresi.

Please be informed that should Mr Modarsi wish to access to or challenge the information registered in INTERPOL’s files, a request must be sent by postal mail to the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files, which is the independent expert body in charge of processing requests for access or modification of information recorded in INTERPOL’s files….


I am not sure how Kashgari would have had the time or information to challenge INTERPOL’s files had they promulgated an arrest warrant issued by a state [corrected].

INTERPOL needs to rethink warrants instigated via oppressive regimes. This may be the case that will ensure that it does.

But a young man’s life is still at stake…



  1. بفضل العديد من الجهود لتطوير لمناقشة هذا ، وأنا أشعر بقوة حول هذا الموضوع ومثل دراسة قدرا كبيرا أكثر على هذا الموضوع. إذا كان ذلك ممكنا ، كما يمكنك اكتساب الخبرة ، هل العقل استكمال وجود قدر كبير معلومات أكثر من ذلك بكثير؟ من المفيد جدا بالنسبة لي.

  2. From Tweets I have read I strongly suspect Interpol were used – at best others in Interpol were not aware of this.

    1. at best others in Interpol were not aware of this.

      I think it’s plausible that whatever checks exist to make sure that abuses do not happen simply did not work. Another issue is that it all happened very fast. They obviously found out that he was in Malaysia and acted swiftly as soon as they found out. Maybe acting swiftly allowed them to abuse the system (assuming the Interpol notice system was, indeed, involved).

      I believe that you can contest such a red notice listing but this could not have helped Hamza because first you have to know you are on there and you’d be most likely to find out that you are there only at the time of your arrest (and I understand that not all notices are publicly disseminated so looking yourself up on the Interpol website is not necessarily going to help).

  3. Another source for the story of Interpol involvement is AFP:

    We are still dealing with a situation such that they could all be from the same source.

    One thing that is different in this story, though, is that the source is named. The source is the Police spokesman Ramli Yoosuf.

  4. It’s not just Bernama. It’s Bernama & Reuters. Here’s Reuters quoting a “police spokesman” as indicating Interpol involvement:

    ‘“It is confirmed that Malaysian police have detained the Saudi writer. This arrest was part of an Interpol operation which the Malaysian police were a part of,” a police spokesman told Reuters on Friday.’

    It still could be a single source talking to both Reuters & Bernama.

    I think it’s plausible that they used Interpol and I think that it is plausible that they did not use Interpol.

    In the latter case Interpol probably would have bee brought up on purpose as cover because the people setting up the arrest and extradition either knew it was illegal to do this or did not know whether it was legal and did not want to find out, through due process, that it was not (at least not until after it’s all done).

  5. Can someone please explain to me this: Why did he leave for Malaysia and then to New Zealand when there are many other destinations that take you immediately to a liberal democracy in Europe from Jeddah or Riyadh? Was this the first flight he could secure? Does anyone have details as to his flight strategy (flight both in terms of itinerary and his plan for fleeing SA)?

    I have no doubt his priority was to get to freedom and safety ASAP which means get out of SA first, find safe harbor second, but his KUL layover is somewhat counter intuitive.

      1. You might be right about the visa. I did a very quick check on Kayak earlier and the top flights that were coming up all had a stop in Australia. Looking at their website just now ( ) I’m pretty sure that as a citizen from Saudi Arabia he would need a biometric based visa even for just transiting through the airport. I don’t know about you but I would be scared of that requirement if I needed to leave immediately.

        Additionally, Malaysia is a frequent tourist destination for Saudis and it sounds like he might have had friends there (some of the press reports out there are eyewitness reports by a friend or friends at the airport when he went there to get on the flight to New Zealand).

        Additionally, even if we can have 20/20 vision here regarding Malaysia’s secular (but not really) government, the fact remains that if he had done his research he would have found that Saudi Arabia does not have an extradition treaty with Malaysia and would have felt safe staying there for a couple of days.

        1. I forgot to mention that he absolutely would not have needed a visa for Malaysia. Technically, I did not even have to look that one up (it happened to be on an open tab on my browser –don’t ask).

  6. I know nothing about Arabic. What do the references to Interpol say in the following text?

    المدعي العام يطلب الإذن لرفع دعوى ضد كاشغري بعد إعادته للبلاد
    الإثنين, 13 فبراير 2012
    هيئة التحقيق والادعاء العام.
    جدة – أحمد الهلالي

    علمت «الحياة» أن المدعي العام في جدة طلب الإذن من الرئيس العام لهيئة التحقيق والادعاء العام الشيخ محمد بن فهد آل عبدالله عبر خطاب رسمي لرفع دعوى ضد الكاتب السعودي حمزة كاشغري المتهم بالتطاول على الذات الإلهية، وسب الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم، عبر موقع التواصل الاجتماعي «تويتر».

    وأفصحت المصادر عن رغبة الادعاء العام في استدعاء أطراف أخرى في القضية من «المغردين» معه عبر «تويتر»، أو من شجعه، أو وافقه في الرأي عبر الموقع المذكور. وأوضحت المصادر أن الإجراء يأتي وفق الأنظمة المتبعة في ما يتعلق بدعاوى «الحسبة»، تمهيداً للبدء في إجراءات إقامة الدعوى رسمياً في جدة، كونها المكان الذي خرجت منه تغريدات كاشغري قبل هروبه إلى ماليزيا.

    وفيما تجري استعدادات المدعي العام لمباشرة القضية لحظة وصول حمزة كاشغري إلى الأراضي السعودية، أعلن مسؤول في الحكومة الماليزية أن بلاده رحلت كاشغري إلى المملكة أمس. وقال المسؤول الماليزي لوكالة الأنباء الفرنسية إن كاشغري الذي كان موقوفاً في ماليزيا غادر هذا البلد بحراسة مسؤولين سعوديين. وتردد في الرياض وصول كاشغري إليها ليل أمس.

    من جهته، أوضح المحامي والمستشار القانوني عبدالعزيز الزامل، أن الدعوى العامة تحرك من مجموعة من المواطنين، وتعــرف نظـــامـــاً بـــدعــــوى «الحسبة»، وتقـــام مــــن المـــدعي العـــام بحكم أنه مــن يتـــولى النظر في القضية ومباشرتها، بحكم أنها من دعاوى الحسبة، وتتعلق بحق عام للمجتمع.

    وقال المستشار القانوني عبدالعزيز الزامل، إن المدعي العام يعد محامياً للشعب وممثلاً للمجتمع، مضيفاً: «ويتولى مباشرة الدعوى أمام المحاكم الشرعية في هذه القضايا الجزائية، خصوصاً أن فيها مساً لذات الرسول والذات الإلهية، ومن المعلوم أن السعودية تحكم وفق النظام الأساسي للحكم وفق الشريعة الإسلامية وبالكتاب والسنة».

    وبين المحامي الزامل أن قضايا المطلوبين عن طــريـــق الشرطة الدولية (الإنتربول) تحرك نظامياً عبر طريق جهات الضبط، ومن ثم دائرة التعاون الدولي في هيئة التحقيق والادعاء العام، وبعد استكمال المستندات المطلوبة ترفع إلى مكتب البوليس الدولي (الإنتربول) في وزارة الداخلية، ومن ثم يوضع اسم الشخص في قائمة المطلوبين في جميع المطارات العالمية، وهو ما يعرف بـ«النشرة الحمراء».

    وعند سؤاله عن عزم المدعي العام استدعاء المساندين للمتهم، أجاب الزامل «يحق للمدعي العام إدخال من يرى أن له علاقة بالمتهم من ناحية التشجيع في الفكر، وغيرها من الأمور الأخرى التي جعلته يرتكب مثل هذا الجرم».

    بدوره، كشف الخبير الشرعي وأحد المتقدمين بالدعوى عطية الحارثي عن تقديم وتحرير الدعوى من مجموعة من المواطنين بحسب نظام الادعاء العام، ورفعت إلى الرئيس العام لاعتمادها.

    It comes from .

    Google Translate is rubbish but it looks like it’s explaining how, hypothetically, the process of a red listing would be initiated by Abdulaziz Al-Zamil, the Attorney General. I am wondering if it is saying that or if it is saying, instead, that the Attorney General did indeed do that. That is: this is how the process works vs. this is what the Attorney General did.

    If they were claiming Interpol involvement, what I would be wondering is if they would be referring to Malaysian sources (Bernama) or to separate sources.

    If the other stories and this one are fed by separate sources it would be suggestive of something other than someone misunderstanding or manufacturing the idea of Interpol involvement being at play here.

    1. The article is explaining how it is done, though it looks like this was placed there to indicate Interpol were involved. However I heard from a Saudi friend on Twitter that Kshgari arrived in Riyadh with Saudi Interpol. Now you must forgive me but I don’t know how Interpol works. Do they have Saudi employees? If not then they were not Interpol. If they do – according to this admittedly anecdotal report – they were Interpol.

      1. OK. That’s what I’ve come to understand (with no real basis in anything since I do not understand Arabic). So it is sort of implying Interpol involvement but it doesn’t actually say Interpol is involved, right?

        As to how Interpol works, I don’t know the details but it is not a police force. It’s more of a framework for cooperation: it’s data sharing and providing of contacts within a country. So there will be some people in member countries that deal with Interpol matters but they are not a separate, multinational law enforcement body. Like if you look up Interpol in Malaysia you’ll find some office or whatever but it will be the Royal Malaysian Police Force.

        The accusation here is that a red notice was involved:
        “Requests (provisional) arrest of wanted persons, with a view to extradition. An Interpol Red Notice is “the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today.”[3] Interpol does not have the authority to issue arrest warrants in the formal sense of the word, as this is the domain of the sovereign member states.”

        Here’s the information about Interpol in Saudi Arabia:


      Here’s another story from the New York Times which quotes an unidentified source in the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that Hamza was arrested because he was on a Saudi watch list. It doesn’t say it’s the Interpol red list but that is the most reasonable explanation. An alternate explanation is that they are referring to some internal Saudi watch list (why would this person have access to that?) and that the misdirection involved in the police spokesman mentioning Interpol is intentional.

      So what we have now is at least one media outlet report that traces to an unidentified source in the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at least three reports which seem to trace to a police spokesman, Ramli Yoosuf (who, for all we know, might actually be speaking for the unnamed official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), at least one Arabic news source which hints at Interpol involvement (but may be doing so only due to the news reports in Malaysia), and various rumors that Hamza was accompanied by Interpol (how does one identify someone’s professional affiliation with Interpol?) on his way back to Saudi Arabia. Not a very strong case for Interpol abuse but I am still very much open to the idea.

      Is anyone in the media talking with Ramli Yoosuf?

  7. I’ve just had an automatic email response to my report of possible misuse of the name or logo of Interpol by the Saudi and Malaysian authorities saying, in effect, bugger off, we don’t talk to the public. Tell your local police.

    Fat lot of good that would do in Indonesia.

  8. Interpol is only a liaison organization, they do not issue arrest warrants at all. They only promulgate arrest warrants issued by one of their member countries to their other members, but that is non-binding – member countries have full sovereignty in rejecting other members’ request if they consider them illegitimate. Arrest warrants issued by Iranian authorities get rejected quite regularly, for example.

    As Interpol is forbidden from interfering in religious or political issues, they will also not promulgate warrants issued for something like ‘blasphemy’, although member countries have been know to work around that restriction by simply charging religious or political dissidents with regular crimes like corruption in their warrants.

    If Saudi Arabia would have had their arrest warrant promulgated through Interpol (by issuing it for something other than blasphemy), Malaysia could still have rejected the request, so the blame would belong only with Saudi and Malaysian authorities even in that case.

    Interpol is keenly aware of the issue of being instrumentalized by oppressive regimes. They have four SS Generals in the list of their former presidents, and they are not proud of it.

    1. yes that’s right. I corrected that they don’t issue their own warrants but pass on warrants from states. Thanks though to me it sounds like the same thing. But that’s just me…

  9. INTERPOL ‘Connecting people for a safer world’ really should read: ‘Capturing people to secure regimes’.

    Seriously though, this would have been hard to believe if not for the evidence you cite above.

    There are a lot of issues that come up on these boards, regarding regimes, Islamic culture, the pro-Islamist left, the anti-immigrant right, etc, and I always feel I have something to say.

    This time, I am rather speechless.

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