Interpol has placed Aylesbury’s Samantha Lewthwaite on its internationally wanted people ‘red’ list at the request of the Kenyan authorities.
Lewthwaite, 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.
The ‘white widow’ has also been linked to the terrorist attack in Nairobi earlier this week, although her involvement in this has yet to be confirmed by authorities.
Circulated to all 190 Interpol member countries, the red notice represents one of the organisation’s most powerful tools in tracking international fugitives.
Interpol secretary general Ronald K Noble said: “By requesting an Interpol Red Notice, Kenya has activated a global ‘tripwire’ for this fugitive.
“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.”
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 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.”
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.
Former Grange pupil Samantha Lewthwaite is the widow of Jermaine Lindsay, one of the four bombers involved in the 7/7 terror attacks in London in 2005.
When asked whether Thames Valley Police was in contact with Interpol, a spokesman said: “It is not an appropriate issue for us to comment on.
“It is not our investigation.”
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