Interpol appoints UAE official accused of torture as chief

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

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Major General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi serves as the Inspector General of the Ministry of the Interior of the United Arab Emirates, an oil-rich federation of the monarchy of the Arabian Peninsula known for alleged human rights abuses and violations of the rule of law .

Despite serious misgivings about his track record, Mr Raisi was elected on Thursday to a four-year term as chairman of Interpol, formally known as the International Criminal Police Organization, in Istanbul. During an annual assembly of representatives.


“Interpol is an essential organization built on the strength of its partnership,” Raisi said after winning the ballot with nearly 69 percent of the 194 delegates.

“It is this collaborative spirit, united in mission, that I will continue to foster while working to create a safer world for people and communities.”

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The election has angered critics. The UAE has also been accused of repeatedly abusing Interpol’s red notice arrest warrant system to house confinement and brutalize political opponents and target dissidents or even business people, which is well known. connected to the Emirates.

This week in Istanbul, two British nationals imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates demanded an investigation into Mr Raisi’s detention and oversight of the alleged torture.

“Interpol says it is committed to reform, and has tried to look at its systems and liaise with people working in this area,” said Jaswinder Nakhwal, a lawyer specializing in international criminal law, Peters & Peters, London law firm. “It’s taking five steps back.”

Activists and law enforcement officials have also alleged that the United Arab Emirates managed to buy the results by throwing money around the world during lucrative trips and donating massively to Interpol projects. a report good This year, former prosecutor Sir David Calvert-Smith reportedly found “consistent evidence that the UAE is seeking to unreasonably influence Interpol through funding and other mechanisms.”

Granthshala Contacted UAE Ministry of Home Affairs for comment.

Interpol has yet to respond to the allegations against Mr Raisi. It appeared at pains to insist that Interpol’s presidency was a mostly ceremonial posting, and that Germany’s Jürgen Stock serves as the organization’s senior full-time general secretary overseeing day-to-day affairs.

In a press release, Interpol downplayed Mr Raisi’s election, insisting that the part-time and unpaid president’s role is to preside over most meetings.

“I look forward to working together” [Mr Raisi] To ensure that Interpol continues to fulfill its mandate,” Mr Stock was quoted as saying.

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

In an opinion piece published in a state-owned UAE newspaper, Mr Raisi said he wanted to “modernize” Interpol by using “technology-driven policing”, a possible reference to the ubiquitous electronic surveillance tools deployed by authoritarian states .

“We don’t know what happens behind closed doors, because none of its processes are completely transparent,” Ms Nakhwal said. “There is no guarantee or sense of security that an appropriate demarcation or decision will be taken. We can only speculate that there will be an impact. ,

Lawyers specializing in criminal law said they feared the appointment would encourage countries such as China and Russia to abuse international law enforcement and weaponise against innocent people fleeing dictatorial regimes.

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

Matthew Hedges, a UK scholar, said: “I don’t know why the Interpol members who voted for al-Raisi don’t feel embarrassed about their choice and what this will really mean for the organisation’s reputation.” Mr Raisi was imprisoned for seven months, alleging he was drugged against his will.

UK football fan Ali Ahmed, who was detained in the United Arab Emirates for nearly a month and reportedly subjected to electric shock, said the country would use the posting to whitewash its human rights record.

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

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

Syed Ahmed Alwadei, 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 operated with a malicious and dictatorial power at its helm.”

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

Three European Parliament members wrote a letter on 11 November to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, warning about the impact of the general’s appointment on Interpol.

“The election of General al-Raisi will undermine the mission and reputation of Interpol and seriously affect the organization’s ability to effectively fulfill its mission,” he wrote.


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