Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi, who has been accused of torture, will assume the mostly ceremonial role for a four-year term.
To the Emirati general accused of torture he has been elected president of Interpol, the global police agency said, despite expressions of concern from human rights organizations and members of the European Parliament.
“Mr. Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi of the United Arab Emirates has been elected to the post of president (4-year term),” Interpol said on Twitter on Thursday.
General al-Raisi, head of the UAE security forces, will take on a largely ceremonial and voluntary role.
The Interpol Secretary General is in charge of the day-to-day management of the Lyon-based organization. Juergen Stock, the current secretary general, received a second five-year term in 2019.
In recent months, allegations of “torture” have been filed against the Emirati general in France and Turkey, which is hosting the Interpol general assembly in Istanbul this week.
The appointment follows generous UAE funding for the police force and allegations that Abu Dhabi has abused Interpol’s system of so-called “red flags” for wanted suspects in order to go after political dissidents.
Three members of the European Parliament wrote a letter dated November 11 to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to warn of the impact the general’s appointment would have on Interpol.
“The election of General Al Raisi would undermine Interpol’s mission and reputation and seriously affect the organization’s ability to carry out its mission effectively,” they wrote.
In October 2020, 19 NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, expressed concern on the possible election of al-Raisi, whom they described as “part of a security apparatus that continues to systematically attack peaceful critics.”