An Emirati general accused of torture was elected president of Interpol

Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi (AP) (Francisco Seco /)

The Emirati General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, against whom there are complaints of “torture” in France and Turkey, was elected this Thursday in Istanbul president of Interpolannounced the International Criminal Police Organization.

Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi “he was elected to the post of president, ”the agency said on its Twitter account. The statutes of Interpol, whose general assembly has been held in Istanbul since Tuesday, grant the president a mostly honorary role and the real person in charge is the secretary general, Jürgen Stock, re-elected in 2019 for a second five-year term.

Nevertheless, Human rights organizations as well as European legislators had opposed the election of Al Raisi, considering that it would affect the mission of Interpol. His country, United Arab Emirates, is the second contributor to this police cooperation organization.

The president of Interpol, appointed for four years, serves part-time and on an unpaid basis, and does so in his home country. Despite this, several observers expressed their concern about the arrival of Al Raisi to the presidency of the organization.

“We are convinced that the election of General Al Raisi would affect the mission and reputation of Interpol (…)” wrote in mid-November to the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, three MEPs, including Marie Arena, president of the European Parliament’s subcommittee on Human Rights.

Interpol logo archive image.  EPA / WALLACE WOON
Interpol logo archive image. EPA / WALLACE WOON (WALLACE WOON WALLACE WOON /)

– Complaints for torture –

Several “torture” complaints against Al Raisi have been filed in recent months in France, where the organization is based, and in Turkey, the country that hosts the general assembly that has been held in Istanbul since Tuesday.

The Gulf Center for Human Rights accused the Emirati general of “acts of torture and barbarism“Against the opponent Ahmed Mansoor, detained since 2017 in a 4 m2 cell” without a mattress or protection against the cold “, or” access to a doctor, hygiene, water or sanitary facilities. “

In October 2020, 19 NGOs, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), were already concerned about the possible election of the Emirati general, “member of a security apparatus that systematically targets peaceful opposition”.

British citizen Ali Issa Ahmad listens to questions during a news conference with compatriot Matthew Hedges in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Lawyers for the two British men, who claim were tortured while being detained in UAE in 2018 and 2019, have filed a criminal complaint against Maj.  Gen. Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, inspector general at the UAE's interior ministry, who is seeking to become president of the global police agency, Interpol.  (AP Photo / Francisco Seco)
British citizen Ali Issa Ahmad denounces that he was tortured during his detention in the Emirates (AP) (Francisco Seco /)

Electing General Al Raisi will send “a signal to other authoritarian regimes” that using Interpol to persecute opponents abroad “is not a problem,” Edward Lemon, from Texas A&M University and specialist, told AFP before the election. in authoritarian regimes.

A British report in March concluded that Emirates had used the international search system to pressure opponents. Other countries are accused of similar practices.

Lemon said the United Arab Emirates donated 50 million euros ($ 56 million) to Interpol in 2017, a sum almost equal to the statutory contributions of the 195 Interpol member countries, which was 60 million euros in 2020.

Organizers of the 2018 General Assembly, the Emirates also “donated or loaned 10 million euros in 2019, 7% of Interpol’s annual budget,” adds the specialist.

“This funding reduces the ability of other members to influence the organization,” he said.

(With information from AFP)


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