U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla, is teaming up with other senators who serve on the Helsinki Commission to call on the White House and Interpol to oppose a Russian general who is readying to lead that international law enforcement agency.
On Tuesday, Rubio teamed up with three other senators--Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Democrat U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Chris Coons of Delaware--to line up against Russian Alexander Prokopchuk who is expected to be voted in as Interpol’s next president later this week. The Interpol General Assembly is meeting in Dubai on Wednesday to select a new president.
“Interpol electing Major General Alexander Prokopchuk as its new president is akin to putting a fox in charge of a henhouse,” the senators said in a joint statement. “Russia routinely abuses Interpol for the purpose of settling scores and harassing political opponents, dissidents and journalists. Alexander Prokopchuk has been personally involved in this intimidation strategy which ultimately seeks to weaken democratic institutions and embolden Putin’s authoritarian regime.
“If elected as president by the members of Interpol’s General Assembly on Wednesday, we have no doubt that Mr. Prokopchuk will further institutionalize the abuse of Interpol red notices and block ongoing efforts at meaningful reform,” the senators added. “Further, the potential access he would gain to sensitive law enforcement data will bolster the Kremlin’s ability to harass critics living outside of Russia and aid other authoritarian regimes seeking to do the same. For these reasons, we urge all 192 members to stand for the integrity of Interpol as a legitimate international law enforcement mechanism and vote against Mr. Prokopchuk. We continue to call on our administration to use its voice, vote and influence to ensure that Interpol can no longer be co-opted by Putin and other dictators for their own nefarious purposes.”
Rubio’s office also took aim at Prokopchuk on Tuesday.
“The Russian Federation is one of the main countries to exploit Interpol’s red notice system, whereby notices of arrest are sent to all member countries. Russia has used the red notice system to harass Russian dissidents, critical Americans and other individuals opposed to the Kremlin’s aggression around the globe. Russia’s candidate for the President of Interpol, Major General Alexander Prokopchuk, has been particularly involved in the Kremlin’s continued harassment campaign since he served as the head of Russia’s National Central Bureau since 2011,” the senator’s office noted.
Prokopchuk, who serves in the Russian Interior Ministry and is a vice president of Interpol will take on Kim Jong Yang, a South Korean official who is currently serving as interim president of Interpol.
Meng Hongwei, a Chinese official, was serving as Interpol president but he has been missing since taking a trip to China back in September.