German MPs slam UAE candidate for Interpol chief over rights abuses

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Major General Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, inspector general at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Interior Ministry and a member of Interpol's executive committee (file photo)

A number of German lawmakers have slammed the candidacy of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) Interior Ministry official, who faces accusations of human rights violations, for president of the International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as Interpol.

The legislators signed a petition, expressing their “deep concern” regarding the nomination of Major General Ahmed Naser al-Raisi who is on his way to become the head of the Lyon-based international police agency, the London-based Arabi21 news website reported.

The signatories said Raisi’s appointment to the post “would put the reputation of the international organization in danger.”

The German MPs called on Interpol members to “frankly stand up against Raisi’s nomination” and urged a transparent measure for the nomination of Interpol director that would allow for human rights to be taken into account.

They said the nomination of the UAE’s official to the position of Interpol director “is a flagrant violation of the second article of the basic law of Interpol,” which respects the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Last month, a lawyer for two British citizens, who were detained and tortured in the UAE, filed a universal jurisdiction complaint in France against Raisi.

The complaint was filed on behalf of Matthew Hedges and Ali Issa Ahmad, and holds the general inspector of the UAE’s interior ministry and six other Emirati officials responsible for the two men’s arrests and abuse while in the Persian Gulf country’s prisons.

Hedges, a British academic, was arrested during a doctoral research trip to the UAE in May 2018. He was accused of spying for the British government.

Ahmad had traveled to the UAE to watch an Asian Cup football match in January 2019, when he was beaten by plainclothes police officers and detained.

Earlier this year, an independent London-based human rights group lodged a complaint in France against Raisi, accusing him of being responsible for the torture of prominent pro-democracy campaigner and rights activist Ahmed Mansoor.

The Persian Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) noted that the prominent UAE dissident was being held under “medieval conditions” at the notorious al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi. He was being kept in solitary confinement in a tiny cell “without access to a doctor, hygiene, water and sanitary facilities.”

He was convicted on charges of criticizing UAE authorities and tarnishing the image of the country on social media. In December 2018, his final appeal was rejected.

In theory, French judicial authorities can judge crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture under universal jurisdiction if suspects are on French territory, regardless of where the crimes took place.

Interpol member states will choose a new director on 25 November. The two running candidates are Raisi and Interpol Vice President for Europe Šárka Havránková.


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