Mason Conference, Schar School Testimony Lead to High Court Reversal of a Decision

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Louise Shelley: ‘This is an example of events at the Schar School affecting human lives and policy.’

A high-level international conference and expert witness testimony from a Schar School of Policy and Government professor contributed to a groundbreaking reversal by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws.

An activist of the liberal Yabloko party in Kalmykia, Russia, was arrested and tortured for his opposition activity in Russia and sentenced in 2012. After seeking asylum in the U.S., he was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during the Trump presidency on a “Red Notice” issued by INTERPOL and faced deportation. Red Notices are alerts to law enforcement agencies issued by foreign governments citing wanted fugitives. On the basis of this politically-motivated Red Notice, the Russian activist was in detention for several years in the United States and faced deportation.

This week the BIA sent the case back to the ruling judge citing the errors in his previous decision. In reversing the decision, the BIA panel of  judges cited information and data presented at an international conference in November, 2018, sponsored by the George Mason University’s Schar School’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) and the National Security Institute at the Anton Scalia Law School addressing Red Notice abuse by authoritarian governments.

“This is an example of events at the Schar School affecting human lives and policy,” said Louise Shelley, Schar School professor and founding director of TraCCC who added testimony to the case. “We are proud that we can help support human rights in this way.”

This unpublished decision can be cited in future cases regarding the misuse of INTERPOL Red Notices.

Read the final report from the 2018 conference, Spotlight on a Critical Threat: The Abuse and Exploitation of Red Notices, INTERPOL, and the U.S. Judicial Process by Russia and Other Authoritarian States.



The Schar School of Policy and Government is one of the 10 schools and colleges of George Mason University, with approximately 2,000 students, 90 full-time faculty members, and 23 degree and certificate programs offered on Mason’s campuses in Fairfax and Arlington, Va. Among the degree programs are government and international affairs, public policy, public administration, political science, international security, and international commerce and policy. The Schar School prepares undergraduate and graduate students to be leaders and managers who solve problems and advance the public good in all sectors and levels of government—in the United States and throughout the world.

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