An Emirati accused of torture soon to head Interpol?


« J’I personally suffered torture and abuse under his authority. Ali Issa Ahmad, a Briton arrested during his vacation in the United Arab Emirates for wearing a Qatari football shirt, accuses a senior Emirati official of being involved in the abuse he claims to have suffered in detention. If the controversy swells, it is because the person concerned, General Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, could well become the next boss of Interpol, as our colleagues from the Guardian, Sunday November 21. Academic Matthew Hedges, another Briton imprisoned in the Arabian Gulf country for seven months, also accuses the Emirati of torture. The two men have embarked on a campaign to prevent him from taking the reins of the venerable institution, which brings together 194 countries.

Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, who faces a lone competitor to lead Interpol, serves as the inspector general of the UAE interior ministry. “He has a monitoring role of prisons, including those that have committed acts of torture,” said Rodney Dixon, counsel for the two alleged victims. “He is absolutely guilty of torture,” confirms the academic Matthew Hedges, finally pardoned after accusations of espionage, according to which “his candidacy sends the message that you can resort to such acts and get away with it.”

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“An inappropriate candidate”

The chairman of Interpol, a supranational police force that provides support for member state investigations, will be officially appointed next week in Istanbul. If the function is not remunerated, its holder has considerable influence. This is why the international community has expressed its fears, believing that the appointment of Al-Raisi could compromise the neutrality of Interpol.

“He is an inappropriate candidate,” added Mattew Hedges, who should, with Ali Issa Ahmad, file a complaint against Al-Raisi in Turkey before the general assembly. The latter is also the target of several lawsuits in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Norway. In France, the NGO Gulf Center for Human Rights has already filed a complaint against Al-Raisi for “acts of inhumanity and torture” over the imprisonment of Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist detained at the isolation in the United Arab Emirates for four years. Lawsuits that could hinder his ability to move freely in France if he is elected. Problem: Interpol’s headquarters are based in Lyon. “If he set foot on French territory, he could be arrested and be the subject of an investigation for torture under the principle of universal jurisdiction,” confirmed lawyer Rodney Dixon.

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