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14 December 2008 - Media release

Moroccan police capture escaped prisoner subject of INTERPOL alert

LYON, France - A suspected drugs trafficker who became the subject of an INTERPOL alert after he escaped from police custody in France has been arrested by police in Morocco.

Mohamed Benabdelhak was being transferred from prison to the Tribunal in Beauvais, France on 18 November when the transport van was attacked by a gang of armed men who then fled with the 29-year-old.

Within 24 hours of the breakout, INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Paris working with the Command and Co-ordination Centre at the General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon had issued an international alert including identifying details of the fugitive such as his photograph and fingerprints.

On Friday 12 December police in Casablanca arrested Benabdelhak as he was leaving a restaurant after confirming his identity against the details circulated by INTERPOL.

“This case again clearly demonstrates the need for law enforcement to act and think globally not just regionally, and both France and Morocco should be praised for their actions in this case,” said INTERPOL’s Executive Director for Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin.

“Criminals do not recognise borders, geographical zones or political regions and so law enforcement must always think beyond these borders as well. INTERPOL’s global network is central to ensuring the widest possible police co-operation in identifying and arresting wanted persons around the world,” added Mr Louboutin.

A resolution underlining the need for member countries to alert the General Secretariat to prison escapes of suspected terrorists and other dangerous criminals was adopted at the INTERPOL General Assembly in 2006.