" Interpol president under investigation for torture and detention of two Britons detained in the United Arab Emirates – Ordimeds

Interpol president under investigation for torture and detention of two Britons detained in the United Arab Emirates

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French authorities have opened an investigation into the president of Interpol for allegations of complicity in the torture and arbitrary detention of two Britons while he was a senior security official at the United Arab Emirates’ interior ministry in 2018 .

A coroner will have to decide whether or not Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi of the United Arab Emirates, in his role as head of the global police agency, enjoys diplomatic immunity from prosecution.

UK’s Matthew Hedges and Ali Issa Ahmad accuse al-Raisi of taking ultimate responsibility, as senior security official at the Home Office, for the torture and arbitrary detention they say they suffered in the United Arab Emirates.

Interpol’s headquarters are in Lyon, southeastern France, meaning al-Raisi could potentially be detained for questioning the next time he visits the office.

General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, head of the United Arab Emirates’ security forces accused of torture, is a candidate for the presidency of Interpol, the global police agency.

UK's Matthew Hedges (right) and Ali Issa Ahmad (left) accuse al-Raisi of being ultimately responsible, as the interior ministry's top security official, for torture and the arbitrary detention they say they suffered in the United Arab Emirates.

UK’s Matthew Hedges (right) and Ali Issa Ahmad (left) accuse al-Raisi of being ultimately responsible, as the interior ministry’s top security official, for torture and the arbitrary detention they say they suffered in the United Arab Emirates.

British citizen Matthew Hedges speaks during a news conference with fellow countryman Ali Issa Ahmad, left, in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, November 22, 2021. Hedges said he was detained and tortured between May and November 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, after being arrested on false charges of spying during a study trip

British citizen Matthew Hedges speaks during a news conference with fellow countryman Ali Issa Ahmad, left, in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, November 22, 2021. Hedges said he was detained and tortured between May and November 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, after being arrested on false charges of spying during a study trip

British academic Hedges said he was detained and tortured between May and November 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, after being arrested on false charges of spying while on a study trip.

He sued four UAE officials, including Al-Raisi, for £350,000 in damages after he was allegedly restrained in ankle cuffs, deprived of sleep and fed a cocktail of drugs.

The British brought the complaint under France’s principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows it to prosecute serious crimes even if they are committed on foreign soil.

British academic Matthew Hedges said he was detained and tortured between May and November 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, after being arrested on false charges of spying while on a study trip.  He is suing Al-Raisi and three others responsible for £350,000 in damages (pictured with wife Daniela Tejada)

British academic Matthew Hedges said he was detained and tortured between May and November 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, after being arrested on false charges of spying while on a study trip. He is suing Al-Raisi and three others responsible for £350,000 in damages (pictured with wife Daniela Tejada)

The case against al-Raisi, opened in late March, goes further than the torture investigation opened against him by French prosecutors in November for the arrest of Emirati dissident Ahmed Mansoor.

At the time, the UAE Foreign Ministry dismissed complaints about Mansoor’s conditions of detention as “baseless”.

Mr Hedges is seeking damages from four UAE officials, including Major General Ahmed Naser Ahmed Alrais Al-Raisi.

Mr Hedges is seeking damages from four UAE officials, including Major General Ahmed Naser Ahmed Alrais Al-Raisi.

“Any legal complaint that may be filed with charges against al-Raisi is groundless and will be dismissed,” the UAE Foreign Ministry added.

In the latest case, the investigation is now in the hands of an investigating judge, a step that precedes the filing of charges.

The UAE embassy in Paris declined to comment.

Al-Raisi was a controversial choice when he was elected president of Interpol in November last year.

It was feared that placing it at the top would send a signal to authoritarian states that using Interpol to pursue critics abroad “is fine”.

There were also fears that the system of red notices (international arrest warrants issued by Interpol) could be abused by corrupt regimes attacking their political opponents.

In October 2020, 19 NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, raised concerns about Raisi’s possible election, describing him as “part of a security apparatus that continues to systematically target peaceful critics. “.

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