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Fact Check-False reports of WHO chief’s arrest come from satirical article

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was not arrested on July 24, 2022, contrary to claims online. An article featuring this claim comes from a website that describes itself as satirical.

A tweet attributing the information to a site named Vancouver Times gained at least 310 retweets (here). Other examples are viewable on Twitter (here) (here) (here), Facebook (here) (here) and Instagram (here).

Some users are aware that the website publishes “satirical” stories, but others seem to have been duped into thinking the one about the WHO chief is authentic.

Comments include: “Music to my ears. Let the sentencing begin. Claus you're next!” (here) and “Hello??? Why is this not a big story on here...oh ya, the censoring again!” (here)

Website Vancouver Times, which describes itself as “the most trusted source for satire on the West Coast” in its About Us section (here) , published a story entitled “WHO director arrested for crimes against humanity, the WEF may be next,” on July 24, 2022 (here).

The WHO told Reuters that “the report is false and fake.”

Reuters found no media coverage to provide evidence of the alleged arrest. A Google search found fact-check articles addressing the false claim (here) (here), or other websites replicating the false information from Vancouver Times ( bit.ly/3BgHrAU ).

The Vancouver Times story claims Interpol “recently issued an arrest warrant” for Tedros.

Interpol says it issues “red notices”, which are requests to law enforcement worldwide to find and provisionally arrest an individual, but they are not international arrest warrants (here). It is up to each member country to decide how to act on these notices. More information about this (here).

Reuters has previously debunked other false arrest stories from this site (here), (here), (here).

VERDICT

False. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was not arrested on July 24. The WHO confirmed to Reuters that the story is “false.” Reports on the fake arrest come from a website that describes itself as satirical.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .         

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