New Interpol President faces torture complaint from Ahmed Mansoor

January 19, 2022

On 18 January 2022 the Guardian reported on a legal move against Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi made by the lawyer of human rights defender Ahmed Mansour, jailed in the UAE

Maj Gen Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi was elected in November to a four-year term as head of Interpol. See: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2021/11/16/interpol-uae-major-general-and-chinese-public-security-official-are-not-good-candidates-for-interpol/.

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, a laureate of the MEA, 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. See: https://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/laureates/074ACCD4-A327-4A21-B056-440C4C378A1A

Separately, lawyers for two Britons who had accused al-Raisi of torture filed a criminal complaint Tuesday with investigative judges of the specialised judicial unit for crimes against humanity and war crimes of the Paris Tribunal.

Al-Raisi was elected for a four-year term as Interpol president in November. He has been accused by human rights groups of involvement in torture and arbitrary detentions in the UAE.

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. “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.

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 football fan, says he was tortured by the UAE security agency during the 2019 Asia Cup.

They filed a torture complaint against al-Raisi with the prosecutors of the Paris Tribunal in October. That complaint is pending, Dixon said. The criminal complaint that was filed on 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. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/01/17/ground-breaking-conviction-of-syrian-torturer-in-germany/

“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.

It was not clear how long al-Raisi would remain in Lyon. Interpol officials did not respond to phone calls or emails by the Associated Press asking about his whereabouts on Tuesday.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/18/torture-complaint-filed-against-new-president-of-interpol

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