United Arab Emirates: A united call to reject the candidacy of Maj. General Al-Raisi for INTERPOL president

16.11.21

Paris - On 16 November 2021, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)’s Executive Director Khalid Ibrahim participated in a press conference organised by MP Hubert Julien-Laferrière at the French National Assembly in Paris against the potential election of Major General Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi to the Presidency of INTERPOL. Al-Raisi is accused of orchestrating torture against human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

MP Julien-Laferrière, who moderated the event, talked about his continuous efforts to prevent Al-Raisi from being elected as President of INTERPOL due to his involvement in massive human rights violations including torture. INTERPOL’s offices are based in France.

Prominent French human rights lawyer William Bourdon, who acted on behalf of GCHR in  in  lodged an official complaint with the Prosecutor's Office in Paris on 07 June 2021 against Al-Raisi in the case of the unlawful arrest and subsequent torture of prominent human rights defender and GCHR’s Board member Ahmed Mansoor, spoke of his efforts to bring Al-Raisi to justice. This includes his recent work with Turkish lawyers to submit a complaint against Al-Raisi in Turkey, where the election of INTERPOL’s president will take place during its 89th session on 23-25 November 2021 in Istanbul.

Other victims of the Emirati police and security services who spoke at the event in Paris were Matthew Hedges PhD and Ali Ahmed Issa, two British citizens who were arbitrarily detained and tortured in the UAE. Rodney Dixon QC, the British lawyer of the two men, also stressed the need to prevent the UAE from leading the world law-enforcement agency.

Patrick Baudouin, honorary president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), also talked about the efforts of NGOs including FIDH to prevent Al-Raisi from being elected. FIDH and GCHR were among eight NGOs calling on the INTERPOL General Assembly not to elect Al-Raisi in a joint appeal last month.

Speakers at the press conference sent a united call to all governments, in particular members of the General Assembly of INTERPOL, to reject the candidacy of Al-Raisi for president.

Khalid Ibrahim concluded his speech by saying, “A country that abuses human rights on a daily basis shouldn’t lead INTERPOL.”