Dhe Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, who has been criticized for allegations of torture, has been elected President of the international police organization Interpol. Al-Raisi had been chosen to succeed South Korean Kim Jong Yang in Istanbul, Interpol announced on Twitter on Thursday. There were major reservations against Al-Raisi’s candidacy from human rights activists and members of the European Parliament.
Interpol regularly elects a new boss every four years. It plays a largely symbolic role; the most important decisions at Interpol are made by the General Assembly made up of representatives of the member states. The general secretary is in charge of the day-to-day work at the duty station in Lyon, France. The German Jürgen Stock took over this position in 2014. In October 2019, he was confirmed for a second five-year term.
Despite the largely representative role of the Interpol president, critics fear that the police authorities will lose their reputation when the post is filled with Al-Raisi. “We are deeply convinced that the election of Major General Al-Raisi would damage Interpol’s reputation and seriously affect the organization’s ability to carry out its mission effectively,” said a letter from three MEPs in mid-November EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, signed by Marie Arena, the head of the subcommittee for human rights.
Human Rights Watch and 18 other human rights organizations accused Al-Raisi in October of last year of acting “systematically against the peaceful opposition” in the United Arab Emirates as “part of the security apparatus” of the United Arab Emirates. The organization Gulf Center for Human Rights accuses Al-Raisi of torturing the government critic Ahmed Mansur, who has been imprisoned since 2017. This is in a tiny cell with no mattress. He also has no access to medical care or sanitary facilities.