On the run, what to do? International arrest warrant, European arrest warrant, extradition, Interpol, Red Notice – these are the keywords that run through your head when you are stuck abroad and a German public prosecutor is looking for you. At least formally, you are “on the run” at this moment, although we know that this situation can also arise without having been deliberately brought about by you. It is then many nights on the Internet searched and long lived in uncertainty; sometimes under the worst conditions – because the countries that do not extradite rarely have pleasant living conditions.
We know what we are talking about, our clients come from Lebanon, Turkey, North Africa or Syria, among other countries – and our work in the field of cybercrime, drugs and Encrochat is closely linked to the issues of extradition custody.
Warrant and Red Notice
On the run: Interpol has no powers of its own, yet its Red Notice is red hot
Interpol helps to organize – and indeed worldwide searches for people, this search is carried out with so-called “notices”, which are divided into colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and black notices (“alerts”) exist.
An alert with an international arrest warrant for the purpose of arrest for extradition is the basis for the detention of the person. If someone is stopped, it must be clarified first and foremost and immediately with the responsible public prosecutor, describing the specific facts of the case, whether measures restricting freedom are to be carried out. Attention: a preliminary examination of the search alert by the Federal Criminal Police Office takes place today only in a few selected cases. The red notice is still known by many, but the blue notice, for example, is definitely underestimated:
The red notice is used to determine the whereabouts of a wanted person or to arrest that person, or optionally to restrict his or her freedom of movement with a view to extradition. The minimum requirements for a red notice are that the offense is a serious common law offense with a minimum sentence of two years or a sentence imposed of at least six months imprisonment, or that the request is of interest to international police cooperation.
In order to initiate a Red Notice, sufficient identifying characteristics of the respective person must be known, such as surname, first name, gender, date of birth (at least the year) and either personal description, DNA, fingerprints or data, from the passport or identity card. By the way, a Red Notice needs a good quality photograph and supplementary information such as known alias, name of a parent, further person description and so on. Sufficient court data is also necessary, such as offense, sentence, facts of the case with precise and clear description, and time and place of the offense.
The green Notice is issued to draw attention to a person’s criminal activity. This is permissible if the person can be considered a possible threat to public safety. This conclusion must be based on the assessment of a national security authority or an international body and must be based on previous convictions of the person or on other sufficient grounds. As much information about the threat may be provided as is pertinent as a warning.
Yellow alerts are issued to find a missing or disappeared person or to identify a person who cannot give any information about his or her person, i.e. when the whereabouts of a missing person or the identity of an apprehended person is unknown. A prerequisite for a solce alert in the form of a Yellow Notice is that the disappearance of the person has been reported to the police, or the unknown person who cannot provide information about his or her identity has been apprehended by the police. So much data about the person or the circumstances of his disappearance or apprehension are disclosed that identification is possible.
The Black Notice plays a role when deceased persons need to be identified, for example, when the finding of a body was recorded on file by the police and the body could not be identified. So much data and circumstances of their finding are disclosed in the alert that identification is possible.
Purple alerts are issued to provide information on the modi operandi of criminals and the objects and devices they use or methods of concealment or disguise employed and/or to obtain information on criminal acts with a view to clearing them.
The blue notice is used to investigate a person or to obtain criminal information about him or her. Blue notices are particularly useful when extradition appears to be difficult.
In the Blue Notice, additional information is obtained about any previous convictions, place of residence, identity of the person or other findings relevant to the investigation, and so much data is disclosed about the criminal investigation or the person that the desired cooperation is promising.
If you are wanted by Interpol, one principle applies: take care. Whether red notice or blue notice, you should do damage limitation. German prosecutors are also behind the times and do not forget.
Desperation on the run
The fear of Interpol is great – the bait with despair also
Anyone stuck abroad on the run and assuming or even knowing about a warrant or red notice should do one thing on the surface: Clean up. It doesn’t help, especially daydreaming doesn’t help – an arrest warrant doesn’t just disappear, nor can it be talked away. This simple, painful truth must be accepted.
Of course, one can work on two tracks, attacking the national arrest warrant on the one hand and trying to work off the red notice at Interpol in parallel; but there are no guarantees here and in the end only more time is gambled away. Anyone who has to live in miserable conditions or in an area where there is concern about civil war should see time as a valuable commodity.
Haftbefehl und Red Notice?
Of course there are many things that can be done, first and foremost it must be checked whether the original warrant can be challenged. Also, a deletion of the Red Notice can be requested from Interpol, but this is only realistic if the search request is not in accordance with the Interpol statutes.
Interpol and the uncertainty of extradition
As in any investigative procedure, also on the run, in the search by Interpol predominantly the knowledge deficit is the problem: Is there a worldwide manhunt, is a blue notice initially only information gathering?
We have been through extraditions within the EU as well as from outside Europe to Germany – and the risk of inhumane detention conditions should always be seen. Don’t underestimate which is worse in the end – especially since after sometimes years on the run you may not necessarily be able to get the arrest warrant lifted, but prosecutors are open to talks especially in cybercrime and drug offenses that lead to meaningful solutions and prevented extradition detention. Conversely, an experienced defense attorney should first assess: How realistic is extradition, when is a statute of limitations in the offing?
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