Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi Interpol Chief UAE

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A senior UAE security official charged with torture has been elected president of the global police agency Interpol, raising concerns from legal experts, human rights defenders and his alleged victims.

Major General Ahmed Naser al-Raisi is Inspector General of the Ministry of the Interior of the United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich confederation of monarchies in the Arabian Peninsula known for alleged human rights and rule of law violations

Despite serious doubts about his record, Raisi was elected on Thursday to a four-year term as president of Interpol, formally known as the International Criminal Police Organization, at an annual meeting of the organization’s delegates in Istanbul.

“Interpol is a vital organization built on the strength of its partnerships,” said Mr Raisi after winning the vote with nearly 69 percent of the 194 MEPs’ vote.

“It is this collaborative spirit, united in mission, that I will continue to nurture as we work towards a safer world for people and communities.”

Critics were outraged by the election. The UAE has also been repeatedly accused of incarcerating and assaulting political opponents in their own countries and misusing Interpol’s Red Notice Arrest Warrant system to target dissidents or even business people who come into contact with well-connected Emirates.

This week, two British nationals detained in the UAE in Istanbul opened an investigation into Mr Raisi for overseeing their detention and alleged torture.

“Interpol says it is committed to reform and has sought to review its systems and engage with people working in this field to reform its systems,” said Jasvinder Nakhwal, a lawyer specializing in international criminal law, Peters and Peters, a Londoner. law firm. “This is five steps back.”

Activists and law enforcement officers have also claimed that the UAE managed to buy the result by throwing money on flashy trips around the world and over-donating to Interpol projects. AN report this year, former prosecutor Sir David Calvert-Smith reportedly found “coherent evidence that the UAE is improperly trying to influence Interpol through funding and other mechanisms.”

the independent approached the UAE Ministry of Interior for comment.

Interpol has not yet responded to the allegations against Raisi. It seemed hard to emphasize that Interpol’s presidency was primarily a ceremonial position, with Germany’s Jürgen Stock serving as the organization’s senior full-time secretary general overseeing its day-to-day business.

In a press release, Interpol downplayed Mr. Raisi’s election and emphasized that the role of the part-time and unpaid president is primarily to chair meetings.

“I look forward to working closely with [Mr Raisi] to ensure Interpol continues to fulfill its mandate,” said Mr Stock.

But Interpol reveals little about its inner workings, and Mr. Raisi seems eager to influence the organization’s policies.

In an op-ed published in a state newspaper in the UAE, Mr Raisi said he wants to “modernize” Interpol by using “tech-driven policing”, a possible reference to the ubiquitous electronic surveillance tools deployed by authoritarian states.

“We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors because none of the processes are completely transparent,” said Ms Nakhwal. “There is no guarantee or sense of security that there will be proper demarcation or decision-making. We can only guess that there will be influence.”

Lawyers specializing in criminal law said they feared the appointment would encourage countries like China and Russia to abuse and arm international law enforcement against innocent people who come into conflict with dictatorial regimes.

Two of Raisi’s alleged victims said his election would cause irreparable damage to Interpol.

“I don’t know how the Interpol members who voted for Al-Raisi are not ashamed of the choice they have made and what it will actually mean for the reputation of the organization,” said Matthew Hedges, a British scholar who was detained . for seven months in a prison under the authority of Mr Raisi and claims he was drugged against his will.

Ali Ahmad, a British football fan detained in the UAE for nearly a month and reportedly subjected to electric shocks, said the country will use the post to improve its human rights record.

“The UAE will use it to trick the world into thinking they are good at policing,” he said.

The UAE has previously insisted that both Mr Hedges and Mr Ahmad were treated fairly and in accordance with its laws.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said Mr Raisi’s election “sends a dangerous message that a body that is already corrupt will now be run with an evil and dictatorial force at the helm.”

“No one is safe from the abuse of Interpol and authoritarian regimes,” he added.

Three MEPs wrote a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on November 11 to warn of the impact of the general’s appointment on Interpol.

“The election of General al-Raisi would undermine Interpol’s mission and reputation and seriously affect the organization’s ability to carry out its mission effectively,” they wrote.

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