UAE General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi Faces Torture Charges

UAE General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, who was elected as Interpol Chief last November, faces new torture charges in France.

Last January, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) filed a complaint against al-Raisi on behalf of the Emirati national Ahmed Mansour.

The complaint, submitted to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Terrorism in France, contained charges of crimes against humanity.

Al-Raisi was under fire since his election in November 2021 for a four-year term over his government’s record of human rights abuses.

Al-Raisi already faces criminal complaints in five countries, including accusations of torturing two Britons.

Concerns Raised over al-Raisi’s Election as Interpol Chief

Prior to his election to the Interpol General Assembly in Istanbul, leading human rights groups and political leaders warned of his assumption of the post as he already faces criminal complaints in five countries, including France, Turkey, Britain, Sweden and Norway.

Deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Joe Stork, said that “the candidacy of a UAE Interior Ministry official for president of Interpol may jeopardize the global police organisation’s commitment to its human rights obligations.”

According to the Guardian, Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi was also accused of being responsible for the torture of two Britons. A British doctoral student accused of spying in 2018 said he was abused when visiting the UAE in 2019, while the second was arrested in Dubai for wearing a Qatari T-shirt at the Asian Cup in early 2019.

The two French politicians Laurent Wauquiez, who has presided over the Regional Council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes since 2016, and Bruno Bernard, president of the Greater Lyon metropolitan area, have called on the Interior Minister Gerald Darmanan to stay alert over al-Raisi’s election.

A  report written by the United Kingdom’s former director of public prosecutions, Sir David Calvert-Smith, documents the UAE’s substantial financial contributions to Interpol since 2017. In summary, he wrote, “This report has found coherent evidence that the UAE is seeking to improperly influence Interpol through funding and other mechanisms and concludes that the UAE is seeking to cement its influence by seeking to have Major General Al-Raisi elected as President.”

Despite these serious rights concerns, Al-Raisi was elected as head of the Interpol last November, following large Emirati financial contributions to the Lyon-based organisation.

Interpol’s Controversial Chief

French anti-terror prosecutors have opened a preliminary inquiry into torture and acts of barbarism committed by the Emirati general, who in November became president of Interpol.

The inquiry follows a legal complaint by an NGO that accused Raisi of being responsible in his role as a high-ranking official at the United Arab Emirates interior ministry for the torture of an opposition figure.

Abu Dhabi has also been accused of abusing Interpol’s Red Notice systems for targeting political opponents.

Al-Raisi was not the first Interpol controversial chief. The former presidents, the Chinese Meng Hongwei (2018) and South African Jackie Selebi (2008) have also sparked controversy for facing corruption charges in their countries.

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