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Serbia extradites Bahrain opposition figure

January 26, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Serbian police forces on 5 September 2021 [SAVO PRELEVIC/AFP/Getty Images]

The Serbian authorities have extradited a Bahrain opposition figure to Manama despite an injunction issued by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the Guardian has reported. Ahmed Jaafar Muhammad Ali, 48, was sentenced in absentia to life in prison in 2013 for alleged terrorist activities.

Human rights groups have accused Bahrain of seeking to suppress dissent in the kingdom through such allegations. Popular protests have taken place there since the Arab Spring started in 2011.

The ECHR issued an injunction for the extradition to be postponed to allow the Serbs time to respond to the court’s request for more information. The court had been asked by the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights to consider Ali’s case. Failure to comply, the Serbs were warned, would mean that they risk breaching the European convention on human rights.

Nevertheless, Ali was deported in the early hours of Monday morning on a charter flight provided by a private airline headed by a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi.

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The extradition represents the first case of its kind since Major General Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, a leading UAE security official, was elected as the president of Interpol. Raisi has been accused by former detainees in the UAE of complicity in torture. There have been concerns that his election could embolden authoritarian regimes to misuse Interpol to arrest dissidents in exile.

Interpol, though, told the Guardian that, “No individual member of the executive committee, including the president, has any involvement or influence in the decision-making process to publish or cancel a red notice.” Ali was arrested under a red notice last November.

The newspaper point out that neither the Serbian Ministry of Justice nor the airline involved had responded to its request for comments.