Torture Claims Filed Against New INTERPOL President
January 26th, 2022
William Bourdon, French lawyer representing Ahmed Monsour, has filed a torture complaint against INTERPOL President Maj. Gen. Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi. Ahmed Mansour, human rights defender and blogger, has been imprisoned in the UAE since 2017 on charges of “insulting the status and prestige of the UAE.”
Al-Raisi’s election as INTERPOL president sparked controversy due to previous accusations of failure to investigate and involvement in torture throughout his tenure in the UAE. The UAE has denied these allegations.
Upon al-Raisi’s first visit to the international police agency’s headquarters in Lyon, France, Bourdon filed the complaint on behalf of Monsour, under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
An additional separate criminal complaint was filed against al-Raisi on behalf of two Britons who previously accused al-Raisi of torture. Their lawyers have a pending torture complaint (filed in October) with the prosecutors of the Paris Tribunal. The most recent complaint was filed on Tuesday with investigative judges of the Specialized Judicial Unit for Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes of the Paris Tribunal.
The two Britons are Matthew Hedges, who says he faced torture and months of solitary confinement during his imprisonment in the UAE 2018 on charges of spying, and Ali Issa Ahmad, who says he was tortured by the UAE security agency during the 2019 Asia Cup soccer tournament.
“Al-Raisi's presence on French territory triggers the universal jurisdiction of French courts and immunity cannot be invoked,” said Rodney Dixon, a lawyer for the two Britons, Matthew Hedges and Ali Issa Ahmad. Furthermore, Dixon added that "According to French law, an open investigation could lead to al-Raisi's detention for questioning while he is on French territory, either now or whenever he returns.”
Al-Raisi now faces three torture complaints, and complaints in five countries overall.
By, Colby Feigenbaum, Legal Intern