Ahmed Naser al Raisi: New Interpol President sued by British for allegations of torture and ill-treatment | World news

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A United Arab Emirates Major General who has been sued by two Britons over allegations of torture and ill-treatment has been elected president of Interpol.

Ahmed Naser al Raisi, an inspector general at the United Arab Emirates Interior Ministry, will serve a four-year term at the International Criminal Police Organization after winning a vote in Turkey.

Al Raisi, a member of Interpol’s executive committee, has been accused of having roles in the abuse of Matthew Hedges and Ali Issa Ahmad when arrested United Arab Emirates.

Ali Ahmad and Matthew Hedges, who say they have been tortured by Emirati security forces, pose after an interview with Reuters in Istanbul, Turkey, November 23, 2021. Photo taken November 23, 2021. REUTERS / Yesim Dikmen
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(LR) Ali Issa Ahmad and Matthew Hedges both say they have been treated badly

Mr Hedges, 34, was a doctoral student who was imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates for almost seven months in 2018 after being accused of espionage.

Ahmad, 29, from Wolverhampton, says he was jailed in 2019 for wearing a t-shirt with a Qatar flag when the two Middle Eastern countries were engaged in a diplomatic quarrel.

Mr Hedges, an academic at the University of Exeter, said he and his family were threatened “by Emirati’s security services in a building for which Naser al Raisi … is responsible” in 2018.

“The possibility of al Raisi becoming Interpol’s president creates an extremely dangerous precedent where systematic abuses are legitimized and normalized so that other states can continue to use them around the world.”

Mr Ahmad says he received electricity, was beaten and deprived of food, water and sleep.

The couple has filed a lawsuit against Mr al Raisi in Turkey – where their lawyer Rodney Dixon said his clients would “double their efforts to seek justice for their torture and prosecute General al Raisi in national courts wherever he travels in his new position”.

There are also lawsuits against Al Raisi in four other countries, including France.

A spokesman for the United Arab Emirates said that all legal complaints filed against “Raisi are without merit and will be rejected”.

Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Center for Human Rights said in May that Al Raisi’s election would cast doubt on Interpol’s commitment to human rights.

Al Raisi won after three votes, with Interpol saying he received 68.9% of the vote in the last round.

He said: “Interpol is an indispensable organization built on the strength of its partnership. It is this spirit of cooperation, united in mission, that I will continue to promote as we work to make a world safer for people and communities.”

On a daily basis, Interpol is run by its Secretary General – currently Germany’s Jurgen Stock.

The President has a supervisory role, guiding the general direction while chairing its General Assemblies and meeting of the Executive Committee.

About 470 police chiefs, ministers and other representatives from more than 160 countries were at the summit to elect the new president, with each country receiving one vote.

Al Raisi will take over from South Korea’s Kim Jong Yan, a vice president who took over the role when China’s Meng Hongwei disappeared halfway through his 2018 term in his home country.

Interpol Annual Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.  Image: AP
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Interpol Annual Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. Image: AP

He was later accused of bribery and other crimes by the regime.

A Chinese government-backed minister, Hu Binchen, has now been elected to Interpol’s executive committee as delegate to Asia.

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