French prosecutors have opened an investigation into Interpol President Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi in connection with allegations of complicity in torture, Reuters reports.
Raisi, an official from the United Arab Emirates, has been appointed President of Interpol, based in France, in November 2021, despite allegations by human rights groups that he did not respond to allegations of torture of detainees in the United Arab Emirates. informs observatornews.ro.
Investigation launched following complaints filed by two Britons
An investigating judge has been appointed to look into the case and determine whether or not to prosecute Raisi after a preliminary investigation began in March, an official at the Paris counterterrorism prosecutor’s office said.
He confirmed a previous report by the AFP news agency that the investigation was launched following complaints from British citizens Matthew Hedges and Ali Issa Ahmad.
An Interpol spokesman said: “As for the allegations against Mr Al-Raisi, this is an issue between the parties involved and, given that this is an ongoing issue, it would be premature for Interpol to comment. ”.
Interpol added that the role of president is an unpaid and part-time position, with the president remaining a full-time official in his country. Raisi is an inspector general at the UAE Ministry of the Interior. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the press office of the federal government did not immediately respond to a request for comments sent by e-mail.
French prosecutors investigate Interpol president suspected of complicity in torture
Hedges, an academician at the University of Exeter, told Reuters in 2021 that he had been held in solitary confinement for seven months in 2018 in the UAE on charges of espionage when he went to the country to search for his doctorate.
He said he was threatened with physical violence and injury to his family by security services in the United Arab Emirates inside a building for which Raisi was responsible. The United Arab Emirates has stated that Hedges was not ill-treated during his detention.
Ali Issa Ahmad told Reuters in 2021 that he was detained during a holiday when he went to the UAE to watch the 2019 Asian Cup, as he wore a T-shirt with the flag of Qatar, at a time when there was a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
He said he was electrocuted, beaten and deprived of food, water and sleep for several days during his detention. The United Arab Emirates has said that any legal complaint against Raisi “is unfounded and will be rejected”.
Human Rights Watch says hundreds of activists, academics and lawyers are serving long sentences in UAE prisons, often following unfair trials for vague and extensive allegations. The UAE has stated that these allegations are false and unfounded.
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