UK West Papuan tribal leader removed from Interpol list

By Danny Shaw
Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

Image caption,
Benny Wenda was issued with a red notice by Interpol at the request of the Indonesians

A tribal leader from an Indonesian province who was granted asylum in Britain has won his battle to be removed from an Interpol wanted list.

Benny Wenda, who lives in Oxford, had been issued with a red notice and was at risk of arrest and extradition.

The Indonesian authorities said they wanted him to stand trial for murder and arson, offences he denied.

But Interpol decided the case against Mr Wenda, who campaigns for West Papua's independence, was "political".

In a letter to Fair Trials International, which has campaigned on his behalf, the Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files said it had deleted information about his case from its records.

"After re-examining all the information available to it... the Commission finally considered that the case against your client was predominantly political in nature," said the letter, from the Commission's Secretariat.

The British government accepted Mr Wenda's asylum application in 2002 after hearing allegations he had been persecuted by the Indonesian authorities.

Jago Russell, chief executive of Fair Trials International, said: "We are delighted that Interpol has now woken up to this abuse but safeguards are needed to stop other countries misusing Interpol and destroying lives and reputations in the process."

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