French lawyer files suit against Interpol's new Interpol chief from UAE

Torture complaint filed against new president of Interpol

19 Jan 2022
Torture complaint filed against new president of Interpol

Lawsuits and allegations of torture still haunt the new head of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), Emirati Major General Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, who was elected in late November, despite numerous calls from political and human rights organizations warning against his assuming the post.

The agency said that complaints of "torture" and "arbitrary detentions" were submitted on Tuesday in Paris to the investigative judges of the Specialized Judicial Unit for Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes of the Paris Tribunal.

William Bourdon, a lawyer for the Emirati human rights defender and blogger Ahmed Mansour, said he filed the complaint against al-Raisi in a Paris court under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Mansour is serving a 10-year sentence in the UAE for charges of “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE” and its leaders in social media posts.

while a British lawyer, Matthew Hedges and Ali Issa Ahmed, submitted another complaint.

“Al-Raisi’s presence on French territory triggers the universal jurisdiction of French courts and immunity can not be invoked,” said Rodney Dixon, a lawyer for the two Britons, Matthew Hedges and Ali Issa Ahmad.

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Hedges, a doctoral student, was imprisoned in the UAE for nearly seven months in 2018 on spying charges and said he had been subjected to torture and months of solitary confinement. Ahmad, a soccer fan, says he was tortured by the UAE security agency during the 2019 Asia Cup soccer tournament.

The first complaint was submitted by the Gulf Center for Human Rights, in which it said that Ahmed Mansoor was detained in Abu Dhabi “in difficult conditions that amount to acts of torture,” while the other complaint was submitted by Dixon

Al-Raisi announced his trip to the Lyon headquarters in a Twitter post on Monday, saying “with the start of the new year, I begin today my first visit to Lyon, France, as the president of Interpol.” Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock welcomed al-Raisi “on his first official visit as president” in his own Twitter post.

That complaint is pending, Dixon said. The criminal complaint that was filed Tuesday directly with the judges of the Tribunal — with al-Raisi on French territory — means that the French judges “should immediately open an investigation into claims against him,” Dixon said.

“According to French law, an open investigation could lead to al-Raisi’s detention for questioning while he is on French territory, either now or whenever he returns,” Dixon said.

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It is noteworthy that the election of Al-Raisi to head the organization (Interpol) at the end of November, despite the warnings of human rights organizations, sparked strong resentment among human rights organizations, which sent a letter on November 30 to Jürgen Stock, Secretary-General of the International Criminal Police Organization, in which it considered “Raisi’s election sends a chilling message that Interpol has abandoned its human rights commitments.