search

Emirati general accused of torture picked as new president of Interpol

Election of Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi as ceremonial head of global police agency comes despite concern voiced by rights groups and European Parliament members

Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, inspector general at the UAE interior ministry and candidate for the 2021 Interpol election speaks on the phone on the first day of the 89th Interpol General Assembly in Istanbul on November 23, 2021. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP)
Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, inspector general at the UAE interior ministry and candidate for the 2021 Interpol election speaks on the phone on the first day of the 89th Interpol General Assembly in Istanbul on November 23, 2021. (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP)

ISTANBUL, Turkey — An Emirati general accused of torture was elected president of Interpol Thursday, the global police agency said, despite the concerns of human rights organizations and members of the European Parliament.

“Mr Ahmed Nasser AL RAISI of the United Arab Emirates has been elected to the post of President (4-yr term),” Interpol said on Twitter.

General Al-Raisi, head of the United Arab Emirates’ security forces, will take on a largely ceremonial and voluntary role.

It is Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock who handles the day-to-day management of the organization. Stock was given a second five-year term in 2019.

Complaints of “torture” were filed against the Emirati general in recent months in France and Turkey, which is hosting Interpol’s general assembly in Istanbul this week.

The appointment follows generous funding by the UAE for the body — which is based in Lyon, France — and accusations that Abu Dhabi has abused Interpol’s system of so-called “red notices” for wanted suspects to persecute political dissidents.

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

“The election of General Al Raisi would undermine the mission and reputation of Interpol and severely affect the ability of the organization to carry out its mission effectively,” they wrote.

In October 2020, 19 nonprofits, including Human Rights Watch, expressed concern about the possible choice of Al-Raisi, whom they described as being “part of a security apparatus that continues to systematically target peaceful critics.”

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed