Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) France’s prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation against United Arab Emirates General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, who was appointed the new head of Interpol in November last year.
According to French judicial sources, prosecutors in charge of terrorism cases launched an inquiry into alleged torture and acts of barbarism committed by Al-Raisi, acting on a complaint lodged by the non-profit Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR).
The GCHR submitted claims that Al-Raisi was among the people responsible for the torture of Ahmed Mansoor, an Emirati dissident arrested in 2017 under charges of “spreading false and misleading information” over the internet. Before his arrest, Mansoor was calling for universal and free elections in the UAE, and for legislative powers to be granted to the Federal National Council, a government advisory board.
Since his arrest, Mansoor has been held in solitary confinement in the al-Sadr prison in Abu Dhabi. Human rights groups charge that he has been deprived of basic necessities there and denied his rights even under the restrictive Emirati laws.
Treatment of Mansoor and other human rights activists and dissidents in the UAE was flagged as a serious issue ahead of the Interpol elections, in which at the time Al-Raisi was said to be a frontrunner. Despite international protests against his candidacy, he was ultimately appointed Interpol’s new president in a secret vote.
Human rights organizations warned that his appointment would open Interpol to the risk of being abused by authoritarian regimes, such as the UAE’s. Among the frequent complaints against Al-Raisi’s appointment were accusations that the Emirates had abused Interpol’s “red notice” system in order to collect debts and persecute dissidents.