The UAE’s Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi has been appointed president of the international policing agency Interpol for the next four years.
The organisation announced the news in a post on Twitter earlier today.
Mr Ahmed Nasser AL RAISI of the United Arab Emirates has been elected to the post of President (4-yr term). pic.twitter.com/pJVGfJ4iqi
— INTERPOL (@INTERPOL_HQ) November 25, 2021
A major general by rank, Al Raisi currently serves as inspector general of the UAE’s Ministry of Interior. He was elected by representatives of the 140 nations that are members of Interpol. He is the first person from the Middle East to assume the position.
Al Raisi’s nomination caused controversy with German MPs rejecting his candidacy, saying he “would put the reputation of the international organisation in danger.”
Al-Raisi “is accused of enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture and sexual assault, committed under his responsibility and sometimes with his own participation,” lawyer Gulden Sonmez has said.
Al-Raisi had been seen as one of the front-runners for the Interpol job. However in early October, he faced opposition with claims submitted to French prosecutors about his responsibility for the alleged torture of two men in UAE custody in 2018 and 2019.
In April, a former director of public prosecutions in the UK called on Interpol members to reject Al-Raisi’s candidacy, in a report that drew attention to alleged human rights violations by the UAE.
In June, a lawyer representing human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor, who is spending ten years in prison over social media posts, also made a universal jurisdiction complaint against Al-Raisi in France, based on allegations of the torture of his client.
There were only two candidates in this year’s race, the second was Sarka Havrankova of the Czech Republic. The presidency of Interpol is an unpaid, part-time post, with the day-to-day running of the organisation handled by a secretary-general. The president, nonetheless, has significant influence, presiding over meetings of Interpol’s general assembly and executive committee.