Wife of former Chinese Interpol chief sues agency over alleged threats
An undated handout image made available by Interpol shows Meng Hongwei, the former Chinese president of Interpol, speaking in Bali, Indonesia (reissued on June 20, 2019). EPA-EFE FILE/HANDOUT/INTERPOL
Beijing, Jul 7 (efe-epa).- The wife of a disgraced former Chinese Interpol chief has filed a lawsuit against the international police body for allegedly making threats against her with the aim of preventing her from speaking about the disappearance of her husband, according to an exclusive report published by Hong Kong's leading daily, the South China Morning Post, on Sunday.
The legal action filed at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague by Grace Meng comes less than three weeks after her spouse, Meng Hongwei, appeared before a Chinese court and admitted to having taken bribes of around $2 million.
Grace Meng said Interpol failed to fulfill its obligations following the disappearance of her husband around the end of Sept. 2018, when he vanished after presumably being detained by the Chinese authorities. His official arrest was announced much later, on Apr. 24.
France – which houses the Interpol headquarters in Lyon – recently granted asylum to Meng's wife.
According to a statement provided by the lawyers of the litigant to the SCMP, Grace has accused Interpol of failing to "protect and assist" the family and being "complicit in the internationally wrongful acts of its member country, China."
“Despite Interpol’s threat for speaking out, I am announcing (…) that I have launched legal proceedings against Interpol,” she said.
Her legal team is made up of four people, including Interpol's former general counsel, Rutsel Martha.
Interpol responded by describing Grace Meng's accusations as a “complete mischaracterization” and urged her not to reveal confidential details of the case to the press.
The former Interpol chief mysteriously disappeared after boarding a plane headed for China on Sept. 25, 2018. Meng's family lost track of him, and his wife reported him missing and called for help.
After several days of silence and under pressure from the international community, which demanded explanations from Beijing about Meng's whereabouts, the National Supervisory Commission, a Chinese anti-corruption agency, confirmed in early October that he was being detained.
Shortly afterward, Interpol announced the departure of its president with immediate effect after Meng resigned from office in a letter.
On June 20, after being held for months, Meng appeared before a court, where he was accused of having "taken advantage of the convenience and power associated with his various posts" between 2015-17, when he was vice minister of public security and the head of China's Coast Guard.
Meng pleaded guilty to the accusation and is set to be sentenced at a later date.
Chinese law stipulates that the police have the authority to hold suspects accused of national security, terrorism or bribery offenses without communication and in a secret location for up to six months, a regulation that, in many cases, is applied to keep dissidents or activists in long-term custody.
Since President Xi Jinping came into power in 2013, China has tried several senior officials for accepting bribes as part of its anti-corruption campaign.