An INTERPOL Red Notice, or internationally wanted persons alert, has been issued for UK national Samantha Lewthwaite at the request of authorities in Kenya.
Lewthwaite, aged 29, who is also believed to use the alias ‘Natalie Webb’, is wanted by Kenya on charges of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011.
Circulated to all 190 INTERPOL member countries, the Red Notice represents one of INTERPOL’s most powerful tools in tracking international fugitives.
“By requesting an INTERPOL Red Notice, Kenya has activated a global ‘tripwire’ for this fugitive,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
“Through the INTERPOL Red Notice, Kenyan authorities have ensured that all 190 member countries are aware of the danger posed by this woman, not just across the region but also worldwide,” said the Head of INTERPOL.
Containing identification details and judicial information about a wanted person, INTERPOL Red Notices communicate to police worldwide that a person is wanted by a member country and request that the suspect be placed under provisional arrest pending extradition.
Secretary General Noble said the publication of the Red Notice for Samantha Lewthwaite meant that the public could also play a crucial role in providing information to law enforcement to help identify and locate her.
With Lewthwaite previously only wanted at the national level for alleged possession of a fraudulently obtained South African passport, Secretary General Noble said this case underlined the ‘invisible threat’ posed by terrorists and criminals travelling internationally using illicit passports.
“Every year hundreds of millions of individuals are boarding international transport and crossing borders without having the authenticity of their travel or identity document checked. This dramatically compromises our ability to effectively screen and identify at airports and land crossings those individuals who could be suspected criminals and terrorists,” said Mr Noble.
The INTERPOL Chief pointed to a significant gap in international security by highlighting that despite approximately 1.1 billion international trips being made in 2012, only 700 million travel documents were screened against INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database which currently contains more than 38.5 million records from 166 countries.
“Until this glaring hole in global security is properly addressed, no country in the world can consider itself safe from terrorists and other criminals crossing borders to harm their citizens and visitors,” concluded Secretary General Noble.
Samantha Lewthwaite is the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of the four bombers involved in the 7 July terror attacks in London in 2005, in which 52 people were killed and hundreds more injured.