Emirati general accused of torture elected head of INTERPOL

The International Police Organization said on Thursday that Ahmed Al Raisi, an Emirati general accused of orchestrating torture, has been elected head of Interpol.

Major General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, the Inspector General of the UAE Ministry of Interior, was already a member of the Interpol Executive Committee.

The main president has been linked to the torture of prominent political prisoners at home, including Ahmed Mansoor, the Emirati dissident, and Michael Hedges, the British academic who was accused of espionage in 2018 and sentenced to life in prison. Hedges was later pardoned, but Mansour remains in prison.

Criminal complaints have been filed against him in five countries, including France, where Interpol is based, and Turkey, where elections took place.

Critics fear it may use Interpol’s global reach to arrest exiled and even political opponents at home, rather than prosecute drug smugglers, human traffickers, suspected war crimes and alleged extremists.

Raisi’s candidacy sparked protests in Europe. French lawmakers have appealed to President Emmanuel Macron to intervene directly. German MPs claimed that his candidacy contradicted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The chief says he wants to use his four-year term to modernize Interpol

The UAE has been accused of trying to buy influence within Interpol in order to grease the wheel of Raisi’s candidacy, according to a recent report by Sir David Calvert-Smith, the former director of public prosecutions in the UK.

In 2017, the UAE made a €50 million donation to the INTERPOL Foundation for a Safer World, a non-profit organization with offices in Geneva that Calvert-Smith describes as “a channel through which funds are transferred from the UAE government to INTERPOL”.

The presidential election has been closely watched since China’s first-ever president, Meng Hongwei, disappeared mid-term on a trip back to China in 2018.

It later emerged that he had been detained and charged with bribery and other alleged crimes. Then Interpol announced that Meng had resigned from the presidency.

The vice president, Kim Jong-yan of South Korea, was quickly elected as a replacement to serve the rest of the Ming State.

Kim’s presidency was due to end in 2020, but his term was extended by a year after the coronavirus pandemic prompted Interpol to cancel its annual assembly last year.

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