An Emirati general accused of torture has been elected president of Interpol, the global police agency said, despite concerns from human rights organizations and members of the European Parliament.
“Mr. Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi of the United Arab Emirates has been elected as president”, Interpol tweeted.
Raisi, the head of the UAE’s security forces, will assume a mostly ceremonial and voluntary role during his four-year tenure.
Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock takes care of the day-to-day management of the organization. Stock received a second five-year term in 2019.
Torture complaints have been filed against Raisi in recent months in France and Turkey, which is hosting Interpol’s general assembly in Istanbul this week.
The appointment follows generous funding from the United Arab Emirates for Interpol, based in Lyon, France, and accusations by Abu Dhabi of abusing its system of “red notices” for wanted suspects 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, warning of the impact the general’s appointment would have on Interpol.
“The election of General al-Raisi would undermine Interpol’s mission and reputation and seriously affect the organization’s ability to carry out its mission,” they wrote.
And 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 peaceful critics.”