Paedophilia tops agenda at Interpol assembly

Paedophilia tops agenda at Interpol assembly


Morocco: Interpol begins a four-day annual general assembly in Morocco today where it will review the lessons learned from a recent global hunt to track down a suspected paedophile in Thailand.

Some 600 delegates from 144 of the 186 member states that belong to the international police organization will gather in Marrakech in southern Morocco for the gathering which is used by the body to decide on policy issues.

The meeting will allow Interpol to decide whether or not to make greater use of public appeals for help in paedophilia investigations after tip-offs helped them track down their suspect in Thailand within days.

Christopher Paul Neil, 32, was arrested in northeast Thailand on October 19 after more than 350 people on five continents replied to an unprecedented Interpol campaign.

The suspect’s face appeared as a digitally blurred whirl in about 200 Internet photos of him abusing Asian boys but computer experts were able to produce identifiable pictures of the man which were then made public.

Interpol detectives said the appeal to the public provided the breakthrough in the case. There are however concerns that the increased use of public denunciations in paedophilia cases could lead to a rise of mob justice and false allegations against innocent people.

On the day of the arrest Interpol director general Jean-Michel Louboutin said there was “no reason to deprive ourselves of this tool in the future". The tool could be used for other forms of crime such as armed robbery, he added.