Grace Meng, the wife of former Interpol President Meng Hongwei, announced on Sunday she is suing the law enforcement organization for failing to protect him against persecution in China.
Meng Hongwei “disappeared” while visiting China in September, while he was the active chief of Interpol, and later charged with corruption.
Grace Meng announced that she filed a legal complaint with the international Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, charging Interpol with being “complicit in the internationally wrongful acts of its member country China.”
“A tribunal will be constituted and will decide whether my husband’s disappearance is only a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China, as alleged by Interpol, or whether Interpol itself breached its obligations owed to my family,” her statement said.
She also claimed Interpol has threatened legal action against her to prevent her from talking about her husband’s case, an allegation Interpol “forcefully disputed.”
Interpol told the South China Morning Post that Meng’s complaint about being threatened into silence was a “complete mischaracterization” of the agency’s position.
“These arbitration proceedings are confidential. We are therefore unable to address the specifics of the claim, except to say that we dispute the allegations as baseless,” Interpol said.
Meng had been president of Interpol since late 2016 when he disappeared during a trip to China. The incident was especially embarrassing and disturbing because Interpol was not informed by the Chinese government that its top official was under arrest.
Several months after he disappeared, Meng was charged with abusing his authority, mishandling government funds, and taking bribes when he held Chinese government positions between 2005 and 2017, including vice minister of public security.
Meng formally resigned from Interpol after his arrest was formally acknowledged, ending a three-year tenure as the first Chinese head of the agency, and was sacked from all of his Chinese government positions. A few weeks ago, he surfaced in a Chinese courtroom and confessed to taking over $2 million in bribes.
Grace Meng maintains the Chinese government drummed up a “fake case” to persecute her husband because he fell out with Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping. Meng Hongwei’s mentor Zhou Yongkang is currently serving life in prison on bribery charges in the secretive Qincheng prison, colloquially known as the “Tiger’s Cage” because of the many fallen political elites kept there.
Grace Meng and her two young sons live under asylum protection in France, where Interpol headquarters is located. “If France hadn’t protected me, I would have been killed ages ago,” she said in May after her refugee status was approved.