Interpol appoints Emirati general accused of torture as president

From a general United Arab Emirates Amid strong opposition from human rights groups accused of involvement in torture, he has been elected chairman of the international police body Interpol.

The victory of Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi promotes the growing diplomatic influence of the UAE, where he was appointed Inspector General of the Interior Ministry in 2015, overseeing its prisons and policing.

Complaint of “torture” was registered Against him in recent months in France and Turkey, which is hosting the Interpol General Assembly in Istanbul this week.

One of the complainantsMatthew Hedges, a British citizen, says he was detained and tortured in the UAE between May and November 2018 after being arrested on false charges of espionage during a study trip. On Thursday, he called Raisi’s victory “shameful.”

“This is a sad day for international justice and global policing,” Hedges said. “I do not know how Interpol The members who voted for Raisie are not ashamed of their choice, and that is what it really means for the organization’s reputation. “

The UAE says Hedges was detained without any physical or psychological abuse.

Another complainant, Ali Issa Ahmed, a Sudanese-born British national, was arrested in 2019 after security officials accused him of wearing a Qatari football shirt. “It’s really scary that he’s been given this honor,” he said. “The UAE will use this to make the world think that they are good at policing but I will always know the truth.

Rice defeated Sergei Havrankova, a veteran Czech police officer, who warned before the vote that it was a “test of the organization’s credibility and integrity.” After three rounds of voting, Rice received 68.9% of the vote from member countries, Interpol said of the notoriously opaque electoral process. No country needs to disclose how it voted.

Human rights defenders expressed concern over Raisi’s victory. “This election marks the beginning of a dangerous era. Dictatorships are now able to dictate the international police force,” said Syed Ahmed Al-Wadai, director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy. “No one is safe from the abuse of Interpol and authoritarian rule.”

Interpol has the right to issue red notices – calls from one country to arrest individuals in another. Interpol has been accused of allowing authoritarian governments to use red notices to seek political revenge and track dissidents in exile.

Nabhan al-Hanshi, head of ALQST for Human Rights, a campaign against abuse in Saudi Arabia, said: This raises fears of worsening existing concerns about the agency, including the use of politically motivated “red notices” by abusive states.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker said last week that Interpol “has become a tool in the hands of dictators and crooks seeking to punish dissidents and political opponents in an effort to turn other countries’ law enforcement against the rule of law.”

Former UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargas, who is currently advising the country’s president, dismissed the allegations against Raisi as “organized and intense abuse and defamation campaign” that the election “crushed the rock of truth”.

The UAE has been a generous fund of Interpol, Donating $ 54m (40.5m) in 2017 – Equivalent to the required contributions of the 195 member states of almost all the organizations, which was $ 68 million in 2020. In 2019, it pledged about 7% of the organization’s total annual budget, or about m 10m.

Sir David Calvert-Smith, former director of public prosecutions for England and Wales, issued a report in April concluding that the UAE was “trying to unduly influence Interpol through funds and other mechanisms”. Rice, he added, had observed “growing crackdowns on dissidents in the emirates, continued torture and abuse of the criminal justice system.”

In another lawsuit against Rice, lawyers for the Gulf Center for Human Rights accused the general of “torture and vandalism” against critics of the government. Ahmed Mansur.

William Borden, a human rights lawyer who filed the complaint, said: The election of General Al-Raisi is a major blow to Interpol’s credibility.

No formal action has been taken against the general in any of the complaints.

A new code of conduct for executive elections is being introduced to strengthen the credibility of the organization. Increasing the contribution of member nations will also reduce Interpol’s reliance on a single donor.

Following his victory, Rice tweeted that he would “build a more transparent, diverse and decisive organization that works to ensure safety for all.” Raisi did not address the allegations against him or the UAE, but said that “the UAE has become the safest country in the world.”

A spokesman for the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Raisie, said “there is a strong belief that the mistreatment or mistreatment of people by the police is abhorrent and intolerable.” Asked about Raisi’s candidacy and Interpol’s election process, Secretary-General Jर्गrgen Stock said Interpol had not interfered in politics.

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