Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, accused of torture, will assume the largely ceremonial role for four years.
The global police agency said an Emirati general accused of torture has been elected head of Interpol, despite expressions of concern from human rights organizations and members of the European Parliament.
“Mr Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi of the United Arab Emirates has been elected as President (for a 4-year term),” Interpol said on Twitter on Thursday.
The major brigade, commander of the UAE’s security forces, will assume a largely ceremonial and voluntary role.
The Secretary General of INTERPOL handles the day-to-day management of the organization, which is based in Lyon. Jürgen Stock, the current Secretary-General, secured a second five-year term in 2019.
Complaints of “torture” against the Emirati general were filed in recent months in France and Turkey, which are hosting the INTERPOL General Assembly in Istanbul this week.
The appointment follows generous funding from the United Arab Emirates for the police authority and accusations that Abu Dhabi misused the Interpol system of so-called “red notices” for wanted suspects to go after political opponents.
Three members of the European Parliament wrote a letter dated November 11 to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to warn of the impact of the general’s appointment on Interpol.
“The election of the Major General would undermine INTERPOL’s mission and reputation and severely impact the organization’s ability to effectively carry out its mission,” they wrote.
In October 2020, 19 NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, expressed concern about the possible selection of the president, whom they described as “part of a security apparatus that continues to systematically target peaceful critics.”