New Interpol president faces third torture complaint

By Jan van der Made with RFI
Europe Ozan KOSE AFPFile
JAN 19, 2022 LISTEN

 A new complaint for "torture" and "barbarism" was filed Tuesday in Paris against  Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, an Emirati who is the new president of Interpol since November, and who is currently in France.

William Bourdon, the lawyer representing Emirati human rights activist Ahmed Mansour filed the complaint as Al-Raisi was making his first official visit to the Interpol headqarters in Lyon, on French soil.

Al-Raisi announced his trip to the Lyon headquarters in a Twitter post on Monday, saying “with the start of  a new year, I begin today my first visit to Lyon, France, as the president of Interpol.”

Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock welcomed Al-Raisi “on his first official visit as president” in his own Twitter post.

Mansour, on whose behalve the complaint against Al-Raisi was filed, was jailed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is serving a ten-year prison term after being charged with "insulting the status and the prestige of the UAE."

Earlier on, lawyers for two Britons who had accused Al-Raisi of torture filed a criminal complaint with investigative judges of the Paris Tribunal's National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor (Pnat,) a unit which is operational since July 2019 and which also deals with crimes against humanity and war crimes.

One of the two Britons, Matthew Hedges, is a doctoral student who was imprisoned in the UAE for nearly seven months in 2018 on spying charges.

The other, Ali Issa Ahmad, a soccer fan, says he was tortured by the UAE security agency during the 2019 Asia Cup soccer tournament. Hedges says he was subjected to torture and months of solitary confinement.

Al-Raisi's appointment as Interpol's new leader was controversial from the outset, but strong lobbying - he went on an extensive public relations trip to the US and Latin America at the eve of the Interpol elections in November - got him the position.

He now has complaints against him in five countries, including France, where Interpol has its headquarters, and in Turkey, where his election was confirmed.

The complaints were strongly supported by French MP Hubert Julien-Laferrière of the Greens, a former deputy mayor of Lyon, who campaigned, together with 34 other MPs and Senators, against the possible appointment of Al-Raisi as head of Interpol.

In a statement, Julien-Laferrière said that Al-Raisi's "presence on French soil without him being worried - or at least auditioned - by the justice of our country would be a new affront to human rights and to the reputation of this international organization".

The UAE has denied allegations against al-Raisi.

(With agencies)

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