Interpol elects UAE officials as president, ignoring strong protests from human rights organizations

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Raisi, who has been a member of the UAE police force since 1980 and served as the inspector general of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, won 68.9% of the votes at the Istanbul Interpol Conference. This role is mainly ceremonial-he will preside over the conference and three executive committee meetings every year during his four-year term.

Although the former detainee filed a criminal case, the vote passed. Matthew Hedges was detained in the UAE for seven months. He filed a claim for damages against Raisi and several other senior UAE officials in the High Court of London. He accused them of assault, torture and illegal imprisonment.

In November 2018, Hedges returned to the UK after being sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage. The UAE released a video describing him apparently admitting to be a member of the British MI6 intelligence agency.

Hedges said in a tweet on Thursday: “Racey’s inevitably election to INTERPOL’s president is a serious attack on the values ​​he represents.” “His involvement in systemic torture and ill-treatment was legalized by INTERPOL. , And gave the green light to other authoritarian countries so that they can act with impunity.”

The UAE has denied allegations that Hedges suffered physical or psychological abuse during detention.

Hedges said this week that he and another former detainee, Ali Issa Ahmad, also filed criminal proceedings against Turkish prosecutors. Ahmed, 29, said he was detained during a holiday in the UAE in 2019 because he was wearing a T-shirt with the flag of Qatar during a diplomatic dispute between the two countries. He said he was electrocuted and beaten, deprived of food, water and sleep.

Ahmed was participating in the Asian Cup in China.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement that “Any legal complaints that may be made against al-Raisi are groundless and will be rejected.”

The statement said: “He firmly believes that the abuse or abuse of people by the police is abhorrent and intolerable.”

At the same time, Lai Xi vowed to establish a “more transparent, diverse and decisive” Interpol.

Raisy said in a statement: “I am very happy to be elected President today. It is an honor of my career to represent the UAE to serve citizens from all over the world.”

Due to the pandemic, the election was postponed for a year. In October 2020, 19 human rights organizations criticized Raisi for running for the president of Interpol, saying that his presidency would “undermine the mission and reputation of Interpol and seriously affect the organization’s ability to perform its mission effectively and sincerely.”

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