French prosecutors investigate Interpol boss over torture allegations – POLITICO

French prosecutors have opened an investigation against Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, the president of the international police agency Interpol, for allegations of “complicity in torture”.

Following AFP reportsFrance’s national anti-terrorism prosecution confirmed to POLITICO that it mandated a judge at the end of March to investigate a complaint against Al-Raisi.

The complaint alleges “torture” and “arbitrary detention” in 2018 and 2019 against the head of Interpol, then a top security official in the United Arab Emirates. It was introduced by two Britons, including Matthew Hedges, an academic convicted of espionage by the United Arab Emirates after traveling to Dubai to conduct research. Hedges was held for seven months and sentenced to life in prison in 2018 before being ‘pardoned’ less than a week later after an international outcry.

A representative of the counter-terrorism prosecution said the investigating judge would check whether Al-Raisi was on French soil when the complaint was filed, thus giving French authorities jurisdiction over the case. The inquiry will also examine whether the Interpol chief enjoys immunity through his current position.

The investigating judge will then decide whether there is cause to lodge a complaint against Al-Raisi, although it is still unclear when the investigation will be concluded. Interpol’s headquarters are located in the French city of Lyon. Al-Raisi could potentially be detained for questioning in France if he visits the country.

Last year, Hedges sought damages in the High Court in London for alleged assault, forcible confinement and willful infliction of psychiatric injuries.

Al-Raisi was elected Interpol chairman last November, drawing heavy criticism from human rights groups, who accused the UAE candidate of having a long record of surveillance human rights violations.

Interpol did not respond to a request for comment.

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