Allegation of “torture” filed in France against a UAE official GCC News


The denunciation of a Lebanese-based NGO accuses Ahmed al-Raisi, Interpol’s presidential candidate, of playing a role in the torture of imprisoned activist Ahmed Mansoor.

An NGO campaigning for human rights in the Gulf has filed a complaint in France against a senior UAE official candidate to be president of Interpol, accusing him of being responsible for the torture of a prominent dissident, his lawyer said on Friday.

The Lebanese-based Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) on Monday filed its complaint against Major General Ahmed al-Raisi, inspector general of the UAE interior ministry.

The complaint accuses al-Raisi, a member of Interpol’s executive committee, of being responsible for “torture and barbaric acts” against the prominent UAE dissident Ahmed Mansoor, who says he is in an Abu Dhabi prison in “medieval conditions.”

Mansoor was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to ten years in prison the following year on charges of criticizing UAE authorities and tarnishing the country’s image on social media.

Amnesty International describes Mansoor as a prisoner of conscience [File: Nikhil Monteiro/Reuters]

Amnesty International describes Mansoor as a prisoner of conscience.

According to the complaint, since March 2017 he has been incarcerated in solitary confinement in Al-Sadr prison in a small cell “without access to a doctor, hygiene, water and sanitation facilities.”

Al-Raisi was accused last year, being responsible for the torture of a British academic and a football fan.

He is considered a possible figure to become president of the world-based French police force, Interpol, when candidacies are presented at the November general meeting, a prospect that has horrified activists.

In a joint statement last month, Human Rights Watch and the GCHR warned that his candidacy “could jeopardize the global police organization’s commitment to its human rights obligations.”

Mansoor “has been detained in inhumane conditions since 2017, more than four years ago,” William Bourdon, a GCHR lawyer, told AFP.

“What can only be described as acts of torture must be firmly denounced and condemned by the courts.”

He said an “imminent visit” by Al-Raisi to France as “part of his campaign (Interpol)” could make prosecution in France possible on the basis of universal jurisdiction.

French judicial authorities can, in theory, try crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture under universal jurisdiction if the suspects are in French territory, regardless of where the crimes took place.

According to the complaint, Al-Raisi’s role in the alleged torture against Mansoor is “established” because of his position that puts him in control of the UAE security forces.

An Interpol spokesman told AFP that candidacies for president would only be presented when the general assembly was held, but there was no obligation for aspirants to come to France to present their case.

The UAE embassy in Paris, contacted by AFP, said its staff were not allowed to speak to the press.

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