Interpol elects United official as president despite human rights criticisms

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Interpol on Thursday elected a controversial UAE official as its new president during the international law enforcement body’s annual general assembly held in Istanbul.

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Major General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, Inspector General of the UAE Ministry of the Interior and a member of Interpol’s Executive Committee, was elected to a four-year term, the global police body announced. He has been accused by human rights groups of being involved in torture and arbitrary detention in the UAE.

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Another controversial candidate, Hu Binchen, an official in China’s Ministry of Public Security, was chosen to join Interpol’s executive committee as a representative from Asia. Hu had the backing of the Chinese government, which is suspected of using the global police body to hunt down dissidents in exile and banish its citizens.

Interpol said al-Raisi was elected after three rounds of voting and received 68.9 percent of the vote in the final round.

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“It is an honor to be chosen to serve as the next chairman of Interpol,” Al-Raisi was quoted as saying by the global police agency.

“Interpol is an essential organization built on the strength of its partnership. Unified in mission, it is this collaborative spirit that I will continue to promote as I work to create a safer world for people and communities.”

The vote for the president was closely watched as the body’s first Chinese president, Meng Hongwei, disappeared in the middle of his four-year term on a return visit to China in 2018. It later emerged that he was detained and charged. Bribery and other alleged offences.

Al-Raisi is accused of torture and has criminal complaints against him in five countries, including France, where Interpol is headquartered, and Turkey, where the election was held.

His election was met with joy in the United Arab Emirates, but met with angry reactions from the two Britons who filed the complaint.

“It is a sad day for international justice and global policing,” said Matthew Hedges, a British doctoral student who was imprisoned in the UAE for nearly seven months in 2018 on charges of espionage. Hedges says he was subjected to torture and months of solitary confinement.

Ali Issa Ahmed, a football fan who says he was tortured by the UAE security agency during the 2019 Asia Cup football tournament, said: “I stand for justice for the torture and abuse I suffered under the supervision of Al-Raisi. I will not stop my fight. I hope Interpol will not allow them to abuse any other person.

His lawyer, Rodney Dixon, said that his client “will redouble his efforts to find justice for his torture and will have General al-Raisy pursue him in the national courts, wherever he travels in his new position.”

Uproar over China’s push for the post of Interpol Executive Committee

November 25, 202102:14

The President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, pardoned Hedges, but Emirati officials still insist that Hedges was spying for Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency, certain to back up his claims. without presenting evidence. He, his family and British diplomats have repeatedly denied the allegations.

The Inter-Parliamentary Coalition on China, which regroups legislators from around the world, expressed concern over Hu’s election to Interpol’s executive committee, saying it would see China “as a vehicle for its repressive policies”. Gives a green light to continue using Interpol.” There was no immediate comment from Beijing.

In the United Arab Emirates, now hosting the Expo 2020 World’s Fair in Dubai and marking the 50th anniversary of its founding, Emirati officials celebrated the selection of Al-Raisi. Interior Minister Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan said it “demonstrates the world’s trust in the UAE.”

Al-Raisi praised the leaders of the UAE, saying, “With their guidance and expertise, the UAE has become one of the safest countries in the world.” They pledged to modernize Interpol’s technology, promote women and meet new challenges like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

“I will also continue to affirm the core tenet of my profession – that police abuse or abuse of any kind is abhorrent and intolerable,” he said in a statement on his website. “The credibility and status of Interpol and global law enforcement are our most important assets.”

Al-Raisi has traveled the world meeting lawmakers and government officials as part of his election campaign, boasting academic degrees from Britain and the US, and years of policing experience.

Syed Ahmed Alwadei, an activist at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, warned al-Raisi’s election “represents the beginning of a dangerous era, in which authoritarian regimes are no longer able to direct international policing.”

“No one is safe from the abuse of Interpol and the authoritarian regime,” Alwadei said in a statement.

Al-Raisi replaced Kim Jong-yan of South Korea, a vice-president, who was swiftly chosen as a replacement to serve the rest of Meng’s term.

Although the Secretary General of Interpol runs Interpol on a day-to-day basis, the President plays a role in overseeing the work of the police body and guiding its overall general direction. The Chairman presides over the general meetings of Interpol and the meetings of its Executive Committee.

The post of Secretary General is currently held by Jürgen Stock of Germany.

Meanwhile, Interpol also said that Brazil’s Valdesy Urquiza was chosen for the post of vice president for the Americas, while Nigeria’s Garba Baba Omar was elected vice president for Africa.

Around 470 police chiefs, ministers and other representatives from over 160 countries participated in the three-day meeting. Each participating country has one vote.

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