November 19, 2021
On November 19, 2021, a group of 45 MEPs signed a joint letter to EU High Representative Josep Borrell, sponsored by MEP Ernest Urtasun under the joint initiative of two NGOs, the European Centre for Human Rights (ECDHR) and MENA Rights Group, expressing concern over the potential appointment of Emirati General Major Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi to the presidency of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL). In the letter, they call upon Josep Borell to encourage EU Member States not to support this candidacy, urge the UAE authorities to remove General Al Raisi from his position of Inspector General and open investigations on his allegations of torture, while reiterating the call to immediately and unconditionally release Ahmed Mansoor and other political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
“General Al Raisi is the current Inspector General of the Ministry of Interior in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and his tasks include, among others, the management and oversight of the Emirati police force. These troops are the very same that are responsible for the arbitrary arrests of peaceful dissidents, often using violence and without providing the necessary warrants. The UAE police has also been denounced multiple times for practicing torture as a mean to extract false confessions, that are later used in unlawful trials. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi is part of a regime that prevents freedom of expression, that has committed numerous human rights violations that could amount to war crimes and even crimes against humanity in Yemen, and that closes its eyes on human trafficking and the horrendous living conditions of the migrant workers; among other numerous violations,” reads the letter.
“Nominating Al Raisi at the head of INTERPOL would amount to putting the lives of exiled activists even more in danger, and by silencing them, create even more impunity for the violations committed by the Emirati regime. We consider it is the responsibility of the EU to ensure the respect of the rule of law and of human rights across the globe, a mission that would be extremely difficult would General Major Nasser Ahmed Al Raisi be nominated as president of INTERPOL,” the letter continues.
According to members of the European Parliament, the possible election of Al-Raisi to head of INTERPOL, will undermine the mission and reputation of the international organization, as well as weaken its ability to act effectively and in good faith.
The letter was signed by MEPs Ernest Urtasun, Saskia Bricmont, Nikolaj Villumsen, Brando Benifei, Heidi Hautala, Rosa D’Amato, Margrete Auken, Evin Incir, Terry Reintke, Alviina Alametsä, Mounir Satouri, Marìa Eugenia Rodríguez Palop, Claude Gruffat, Marie Toussaint, Stelios Kouloglou, Maria Arena, Javier Nart, Eva Kaili, Salima Yenbou, Idoia Villanueva Ruiz, Birgit Sippel, Damien Carême, Sylvie Guillaume, Karen Melchior, Antoni Comin i Oliveres, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Alice Kuhnke, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Piernicola Pedicini, Francisco Guerreiro, Cornelia Ernst, Michal Šimečka, Franco Roberti, Andreas Schieder, Monika Beňová, Stasys Jakeliunas, Andrea Cozzolino, Ciarán Cuffe, Ignazio Corrao, Sira Rego, Manu Pineda, Katrin Langensiepen, Tineke Strik, Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield.