The New Interpol President Accused of Torture


Etienne St-Arnaud


Global police agency Interpol has elected Inspector General Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, who has been accused of overseeing torture, as its new president. 


Raisi, who has been part of the UAE’s (United Arab Emirates) police force since 1980 and serves as inspector general at the country’s ministry of interior, received 68.9% of the vote at Interpol’s general assembly. 


The vote went through despite criminal cases made by ex-detainees. Matthew Hedges, who was detained in the UAE for seven months, filed a claim for damages at the High Court of London against Raisi and several other senior Emirati officials. He accused them of assault, torture and false imprisonment. 


“This is a sad day for international justice and global policing,” Hedges said. “I don’t know how the Interpol members who voted for Raisi don’t feel embarrassed about the choice they made, and what this will actually mean for the reputation of the organisation.” 


The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement that “any legal complaint that may be filed with allegations against al-Raisi is without merit and will be rejected.” 


The elections have been postponed by a year due to the pandemic. In October 2020, 19 human rights groups criticized Raisi’s candidacy for Interpol president, saying his presidency would “both undermine the mission and reputation of Interpol and severely impact the ability of the organization to carry out its mission effectively and in good faith.”