Interpol, Emirati general Al Raisi elected president

Subject of torture charges in France and Turkey

Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi was elected president of Interpol, an essentially ceremonial post to which 64-year-old Meng Hongwei had been appointed before him in November 2016, who later disappeared after boarding a plane from Lyon, the headquarters of the agency, on his way to Beijing, then expelled from the Chinese Communist Party, immediately after his arrest on charges of having received bribes.

The same agency on Twitter announced the appointment of the general in charge of the security forces of the United Arab Emirates in Istanbul. Al-Raisi has held various positions in his country related to the security apparatuses, from Inspector General of the Ministry of the Interior to Director General of the Electronic Services and Communications Directorate of the same ministry to Director General of Central Operations of the Abu Dhabi Police. In recent months he had been the subject of allegations of torture in France and Turkey.

The appointment – underlines the Guardian – follows the generous financing of the United Arab Emirates to Interpol, which is based in Lyon, France, but also the accusations according to which Abu Dhabi has abused the system of “red notices” of Interpol in order to to persecute political dissidents.

Three members of the European Parliament wrote a letter dated 11 November to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to warn her of the impact the general’s appointment would have on Interpol. “The election of General al-Raisi risks damaging Interpol’s mission and reputation and seriously undermining its ability to carry out its mission effectively,” they wrote.

In October 2020, 19 NGOs including Human Rights Watch expressed concern over Raisi’s possible choice, which they described as “part of a security apparatus that continues to systematically target its peaceful detractors”.

In parallel, several torture complaints have been brought against Raisi in recent months in France, where the organization is based, and in Turkey, which hosts the General Assembly underway since Tuesday in Istanbul. The non-governmental organization Gulf Center for Human rights (GCHR) accuses the Emirate general of acts of torture and barbarism against the opponent Ahmed Mansoor in a complaint against the opponent Ahmed Mansoor, imprisoned according to the accusation since 2017 in a 4 square meter cell “without mattress “nor any protection against the cold, access to doctors, toilets, water.