Chinese official receives Interpolpost despite opposition from Australian MPs

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A Chinese government official has been appointed to Interpol’s executive committee, despite objections from a group of Australian parliamentarians and international human rights organizations.

The International Law Enforcement Agency also elected a controversial United Arab Emirates official as its new president at its annual general meeting on Thursday in Turkey.

Hu Binchen, an official at China’s Ministry of Public Security, was elected to join Interpol’s Executive Committee as a delegate from Asia.

Hu was backed by the Chinese government, which has been accused of using the global police force to chase dissidents into exile and to dissuade its citizens.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China made the world a safer place by “recommending suitable candidates to run for membership of the Executive Committee”.

Earlier this week, six Australian MPs and senators signed a letter from the Interparliamentary Alliance against China (IPAC) urging Interpol members to block Huss elections over concerns that Beijing is using Interpol’s red messaging system to target exile activists.

The Liberal Party’s Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who was among the signatories, said her biggest concern was the possibility that China would use Interpol as a means of its repressive policies and damage Interpol’s international position.

The Lyon agency, France, acts as an intermediary for national police officers trying to hunt down suspects outside their borders.

Its charter is intended to prevent the use of police notices for political reasons.

Scanning

Interpol’s new leader

Interpol’s incoming president is Major General Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, the inspector general of the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of the Interior, who has been accused by human rights groups of involvement in torture and arbitrary detention in the United Arab Emirates.

Interpol said that Major General al-Raisi was elected on Thursday for a four-year term after three votes and received 68.9 percent of the votes cast in the last round.

Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi stands behind a lectern.
Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi has been accused of complicity in torture and human rights abuses in the United Arab Emirates.(Interpol)

“Interpol is an indispensable organization built on the strength of its partnership,” Interpol quoted him as saying.

The vote on the president has been closely monitored since the first ever Chinese president, Meng Hongwei, disappeared halfway through his four-year term on a return trip to China in 2018.

It later emerged that he had been arrested and charged with bribery and other alleged crimes.

Ali Ahmad and Matthew Hedges are sitting on a sofa.
Ali Ahmad and Matthew Hedges say they were tortured by Emirati security forces.(Reuters: Yesim Dikmen)

Major General al-Raisi is accused of torture and has criminal reports against him in five countries, including in France where Interpol is headquartered and in Turkey where the election was held.

His choice received angry responses from the two Britons who filed complaints.

“This is a sad day for international justice and global policing,” said Matthew Hedges, a British doctoral student who was imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates for almost seven months in 2018 on espionage charges. Mr Hedges says he was tortured and months in isolation.

Ali Issa Ahmad, a football fan who says he was tortured by the UAE Security Bureau during the Asia Cup 2019 football tournament, said: “I will not stop my fight for justice for the torture and abuse I was subjected to under al-Raisi’s surveillance. I hope that Interpol will not allow him to abuse any other people. “

Their lawyer, Rodney Dixon, said his clients would “redouble their efforts to seek justice for their torture and prosecute Major General al-Raisi in national courts wherever he travels in his new position”.

Mr Hedges was pardoned by United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, but Emirati officials still insist that Hedges spied on Britain’s intelligence service MI6, without providing definitive evidence to support their claims.

He, his family and British diplomats have repeatedly denied the allegations.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, an activist at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, warned that Major General al-Raisi’s election “represents the beginning of a dangerous era, with authoritarian regimes that can now dictate international policing”.

“No one is safe from abuse by Interpol and authoritarian regimes,” Alwadaei said in a statement.

Major General al-Raisi replaces Kim Jong Yan from South Korea, a vice president who was quickly elected as a replacement to serve the rest of Meng’s term.

Although Interpol’s Secretary General runs Interpol on a daily basis, the President plays a role in monitoring the work of the police force and guiding its overall general direction.

The President chairs the Interpol General Assemblies and meetings of its Executive Committee.

Juergen Stock from Germany currently holds the post of Secretary General.

About 470 police chiefs, ministers and other representatives from more than 160 countries attended the three-day meeting. Each participating country has one vote.

ABC / AP

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