UAE general accused of overseeing torture is elected head of Interpol

UAE general accused of overseeing British citizenstorture is elected head of Interpol

  • General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi was elected as Interpol’s president on Thursday
  • He has been accused of torture as head of United Arab Emiratessecurity forces
  • British academic Matthew Hedges detained in Abu Dhabi in 2018 accused of spying and was denied sleep and fed cocktail of drugs
  • Hedges is backed by fellow Briton, Ali Issa Ahmad, who was detained in 2019
  • A general from the United Arab Emirates accused of the torture of British citizens has been elected as the new president of Interpol, the global law enforcement agency.

    Major General Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, inspector general at the UAE’s interior ministry, was elected on Thursday for one four-year term during the group’s annual General Assembly in Istanbul.

    His election comes despite being accused by human rights groups of involvement in torture, kidnappings and arbitrary detentions in the UAE.

    General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi (사진), the UAE's head of security forces who has been accused of torture, has been elected to president of the global law enforcement agency

    General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi (사진), the UAE’s head of security forces who has been accused of torture, has been elected to president of the global law enforcement agency

    British academic Matthew Hedges, said he was detained and tortured between May and November 2018 in the UAE, after he was arrested on false charges of espionage during a study trip.

    He has sued four UAE officialsincluding Al-Raisifor £350,000 in damages after being held in ankle cuffs, denied sleep and fed a cocktail of drugs.

    The academic is backed by fellow Briton, Ali Issa Ahmad, 28, a football fan imprisoned in the UAE in 2019 after wearing a shirt in the colours of Qatar, UAE’s rival neighbouring country, to a match.

    Mr Ahmad, a security guard, claimed he was electrocuted, burned and stabbed.

    전체적으로, Al-Raisi is accused of torture and has criminal complaints against him in five countries, 프랑스 포함, where Interpol has its headquarters, and in Turkey, where the election is taking place.

    The decision follows generous funding by the United Arab Emirates for the Lyon, France-based body and accusations Abu Dhabi has abused Interpol’s system of so-called ‘red noticesfor wanted suspects to persecute political dissidents.

    Raisi was elected following three rounds of voting during which he received 68.9 percent of votes cast by member countries, Interpol said in a statement.

    He will take on a largely ceremonial and voluntary role for a four-year term, while Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock handles day-to-day management of the organisation. Stock was given a second five-year term in 2019.

    Raisi has run a slick campaign for the presidential post, travelling the world to meet politicians and government officials and boasting academic degrees from the UK and the US and years of experience of policing.

    In a opinion piece for the government-run newspaper in Abu Dhabi, he said he wants to ‘modernise and transformInterpol, drawing on ‘the UAE’s role as a leader in tech-driven policing and a bridge builder in the international community’.

    British academic Matthew Hedges, said he was detained and tortured between May and November 2018 in the UAE, after he was arrested on false charges of espionage during a study trip. He is suing Al-Raisi and three other officials for £350,000 in damages (pictured with his wife Daniela Tejada)

    British academic Matthew Hedges, said he was detained and tortured between May and November 2018 in the UAE, after he was arrested on false charges of espionage during a study trip. He is suing Al-Raisi and three other officials for £350,000 in damages (pictured with his wife Daniela Tejada)

    The vote for president was being closely watched since the first-ever Chinese president of the body, Meng Hongwei, vanished midway through his four-year term on a return trip to China in 2018.

    It subsequently emerged that he had been detained, accused of bribery and other alleged crimes.

    The international law enforcement body also said Valdecy Urquiza, of Brazil, was elected to the post of vice president for the Americas, while Garba Baba Umar, of Nigeria, was elected vice president for Africa.

    It was suggested that Al-Raisi’s endorsement ‘would send a signal to other authoritarian governmentsthat using Interpol to pursue critics abroad ‘is okay’.

    It is feared the practice of giving out so-called ‘red noticesfor wanted suspects will be abused to persecute political dissidents rather than capture war criminals or terrorist fugitives under his leadership.

    Only the Czech Republic’s Sarka Havrankovaa veteran officer overseeing the country’s international cooperation in police mattersstood against Al-Raisi.

    ‘The election of General Al-Raisi would undermine the mission and reputation of Interpol and severely affect the ability of the organisation to carry out its mission effectively,’ three European Parliament members wrote in a letter dated November 11 to European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen.








    While the position of president is symbolic, endorsement of the general by the group’s 195 members ‘would send a signal to other authoritarian governmentsthat using Interpol to pursue critics abroad ‘is okay’, said Edward Lemon, an assistant professor specialising in transnational repression at Texas A&M University.

    10 월 2020, 19 NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, expressed concern about the possible choice of Raisi, who they described as ‘part of a security apparatus that continues to systematically target peaceful critics’.

    Complaints of ‘torturewere filed against the general in recent months in France and Turkey, which is hosting the assembly in Istanbul.

    Mr Hedges, one of the complainants, said he was detained and tortured between May and November 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, after he was arrested on false charges of espionage during a study trip.

    General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, who is also the inspector general at the UAE interior ministry, was seen attending the Interpol general assembly in Turkey where he is standing for president

    General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, who is also the inspector general at the UAE interior ministry, was seen attending the Interpol general assembly in Turkey where he is standing for president

    In papers filed at the High Court in 런던 back in May, Mr Hedges claimed damages against Al-Raisi and three other officials for assault, false imprisonment and psychiatric injury.

    Mr Hedges, originally from Exeter, was sentenced to life imprisonment but was pardoned by the nation’s president just days later.

    He has previously described how he was questioned for up to 15 hours a day and forced to wear ankle cuffs during his ordeal.

    The Durham University PhD student has also said he faced sleepless nights, PTSD and was reliant on a cocktail of drugs that were fed to him in jail.

    법원 문서에 따르면, Mr Hedges is expecting to recover between £200,000 and £350,000 in damages.

    The UAE has previously said Hedges had not been subjected to any physical or psychological mistreatment during his detention.

    Inspector General in the Ministry of the Interior, Major General Ahmed Naser Ahmed Alrais Al-Raisi

    The commander in chief of the emirate's police force, Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi

    Mr Hedges is claiming damages against four UAE officials, including Major General Ahmed Naser Ahmed Alrais Al-Raisi (왼쪽) and the commander in chief of the emirate’s police force, Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi (권리)

    In another complaint, lawyers for the Gulf Centre for Human Rights accuse the Emirati general of ‘acts of torture and barbarismcommitted against government critic Ahmed Mansoor.

    Mansoor has been detained since 2017 in a four-square-metre (43-square-foot) cell ‘without a mattress or protection against the coldand ‘without access to a doctor, hygiene, water and sanitary facilities’, the lawyers said.

    These complaints have not resulted in any formal proceedings against Al-Raisi.

    Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock, who handles day-to-day management of the organisation, told journalists he was ‘aware of these accusations, which are currently an issue between the parties involved’.

    ‘It will be on Thursday the role of the member countries of Interpol to decideon whether Raisi should get the role, said Stock, who was given a second five-year term in 2019.

    Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock (pictured on the first day of the 89th Interpol General Assembly in Istanbul on November 23, 2021) , who handles day-to-day management of the organisation, told journalists he was 'aware of these accusations, which are currently an issue between the parties involved'

    Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock (pictured on the first day of the 89th Interpol General Assembly in Istanbul on November 23, 2021) , who handles day-to-day management of the organisation, told journalists he was ‘aware of these accusations, which are currently an issue between the parties involved

    British citizen Matthew Hedges talks during a news conference along with compatriot Ali Issa Ahmad, 왼쪽, 이스탄불에서, 터키, 월요일, 11 월. 22, 2021. Lawyers for the two British men, who claim were tortured while being detained in UAE in 2018 과 2019, have filed a criminal complaint against Maj. Gen. Ahmed Naser al-Raisi

    British citizen Matthew Hedges talks during a news conference along with compatriot Ali Issa Ahmad, 왼쪽, 이스탄불에서, 터키, 월요일, 11 월. 22, 2021. Lawyers for the two British men, who claim were tortured while being detained in UAE in 2018 과 2019, have filed a criminal complaint against Maj. Gen. Ahmed Naser al-Raisi

    BRITONS SUE NASSER AL-RAISI AFTER ‘ABUSESIN UAE JAIL

    British student Matthew Hedges was held in solitary confinement in the UAE on accusations of spying while researching for his PhD.

    Mr Hedges, 34, says he was fed a cocktail of drugs during his six months in jail in 2018. In his first month, he slept on the floor and had no access to a shower.

    Matthew Hedges, 34, says he was fed drugs during his six months in jail in 2018

    Matthew Hedges, 34, says he was fed drugs during his six months in jail in 2018

    He also did not have any medical care despite suffering from panic attacks.

    He was released following international protests.

    Mr Hedges has claimed that Ahmed Naser Al Raisi ‘was ultimately responsiblefor his ‘torture and detentionand is opposed to him taking over Interpol.

    The academic is backed by fellow Briton, Ali Issa Ahmad, 28, a football fan imprisoned in the UAE in 2019 after wearing a shirt in the colours of Qatar, UAE’s rival neighbouring country, to a match.

    Mr Ahmad, a security guard, claimed he was electrocuted, burned and stabbed.

    Both of them are seeking damages against Al Raisi for their ordeal along with other leading figures from the country. They issued claims at the High Court in May.

    광고

    South Korean Kim Jong-yang has been president of the organisation since the 2018 arrest of his predecessor Meng Hongwei in China, where he had served as a vice minister of public security.

    Anwar Gargash, a former UAE minister of state for foreign affairs who now advises the country’s president, described the general’s election as ‘a testament to our country’s achievements and efficiency in the fields of law enforcement and security’.

    Gargash dismissed the accusations against Al-Raisi as an ‘organised and intense smear and defamation campaignwhich the election had now ‘crushed on the rock of truth’.

    ‘The questionable reputation of Raisiwhether deserved or not, is an important factor for the organisation,’ Mathieu Deflem, sociology professor at the University of South Carolina and author of books on Interpol, said before the election.

    A report by a former British director of public prosecutions, Sir David Calvert-Smith, that was published in March concluded that the UAE hijacked the system of red noticesinternational wanted noticesto put pressure on opponents.

    If elected, Al-Raisi would ‘likely work with like-minded governments to stymie reform efforts pushing for greater transparency in Interpol’, Texas A&M’s Lemon said.

    Lemon said the UAE donated $54 백만 (48 million euros) to Interpol in 2017 – an amount almost equivalent to the required contributions of all the organisation’s 195 member countries. This amounted to $68 백만 (60 million euros) 에 2020.

    The UAE gave or had pledged to Interpol around 10 백만 유로 2019, approximately seven percent of its total annual budget.

    ‘Such funding reduces other membersability to influence the organisation,’ Lemon said.

    The Emirates hosted the general assembly in 2018 and wanted to host it again in 2020, 그는 말했다.

    That meeting was postponed due to Covid, and went to Turkey insteadthough the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan also faces accusations of mass detentions, abuse of trial process and repression.

    Czech candidate Havrankova said she believed the ‘very serious allegationsmight prevent her rival’s election. ‘I’m just trying to bring the alternative,’ she said earlier this month.

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