MPs will urge the Home Secretary to intervene over Russia’s “abuse” of Interpol to target a prominent British critic of Vladimir Putin.
A cross-party group, including Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the influential Commons foreign affairs committee, is writing to Sajid Javid to urge him to demand the suspension of Moscow’s access to the international body’s databases.
They are expected to warn that its participation in Interpol systems has allowed it to repeatedly request the arrest of Bill Browder, a campaigner against Russian human rights abuses.
The call comes after Mr Browder was arrested by Spanish police last week while in Madrid preparing to give evidence about corrupt money flowing into the country.
The US-born financier, has led a worldwide campaign for sanctions against Russians guilty of human rights abuses, since his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was found dead in a Russian prison in 2009, in what the UK government labelled an “atrocious murder”.
The arrest by Spanish police was made in response to a Russian “diffusion order” distributed to member states through Interpol databases.
It prompted Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, to warn: “Moscow should concentrate on bringing those responsible for the murder of Magnitsky to justice.”
A cross-party group of MPs who took part in a Commons campaign for so-called “Magnitsky sanctions” introduced last month in the wake of the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, is now writing to Mr Javid to call for his intervention.
They are expected to highlight Russia’s repeated attempts to seek Mr Browder’s detention through the international body.
Richard Benyon, a Conservative member of Parliament’s intelligence and security committee, who is drawing up the letter with Ian Austin, a former Labour minister, said: “Interpol should suspend Russia’s access to databases whilst Russia continues to abuse the Interpol red notice and warrantry system.
“Russia are abusing this system in pursuit of Bill Browder. He is a British citizen and it is time the British Government held Interpol to account for failures such as were exposed in Spain last week”.
Other signaturies to the letter include Andrew Mitchell, the former Conservative chief whip, Jonathan Djanogly, an ex justice minister, Chris Bryant, a Labour MP, and the Liberal Democrats’ Tom Brake, all of whom took part in the campaign for Magnitsky sanctions targeting individuals guilty of human rights abuses.
Interpol rules prevent “any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.”
Mr Browder was released last week after Interpol declared the diffusion order invalid. It later said: “In October 2017 a diffusion was circulated in relation to Mr Browder, however this was found to be non-compliant.”
Mr Browder was barred from Russia in 2005 on grounds of “national security” and has been convicted in absentia of charges related to tax evasion, which he denies.
Mr Putin has personally accused him of pursuing “illegal activity”.
A Council of Europe report in 2017 cited earlier Russian attempts to seek Mr Browder’s arrest through Interpol as an example of alleged “abuses” of the system by states pursuing “political goals”.