Republican Senator Ben Sasse wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to remove Russia from Interpol because of the Ukraine war. Interpol is a global agency that provides cooperation between the law enforcement of 195 states worldwide.
Although the Biden administration and other Western allies joined hands in calling for Russia’s expulsion from Interpol in the wake of the Ukraine Crisis, the agency did not have the response they were hoping for as Interpol wanted to stay committed to neutrality. Hence, the agency did not deny Russia access to its databases but it did state to supervise and monitor measures concerning Russia.
In the letter, Sasse termed it a step in the right direction as he believes Russia could use Interpol’s intelligence and data against the Ukrainian people and abuse the organization’s functions.
Sasse cited instances of Russia and China using Interpol data to suppress domestic political uprisings. Safeguard Defenders reported that China has abused the agency’s databases to the point of arresting activists, prosecuting minorities abroad, harassing political dissidents, and using Interpol notices to bring back fugitives for persecution.
Similar reports show that Russia also follows China’s footsteps when it comes to using Interpol to crush political opponents. The Atlantic reported that an outspoken Putin critic Bill Browder was the victim of Interpol abuse and targeting by the Russian government around six times since 2018.
Building on his argument, Sasse put forward the notion that removing Russia from Interpol should be a crucial priority for the US. In the letter, he also asked the Attorney General and Secretary of State various questions about the current stance and strategy regarding Russia’s expulsion from Interpol.
Sasse also questioned the Biden administration’s efforts that they have made along with the other Five Eyes members to expel Russia from the agency and other actions taken to mitigate the security concerns Russia poses. He expects an answer to his queries within 21 days.