How the United Arab Emirates are trying to get their hands on Interpol

10:00 p.m. September 18, 2021 changed to 10:59 p.m. September 18, 2021

The next president of Interpol, the Lyon-based international organization for police cooperation, could very well be an Emirati general accused in his country of complicity in torture: Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi has long been the only declared candidate for the Election, which will be held the next general meeting at the end of November. His triumph would then be the result of a lobbying campaign launched five years ago, which culminated in the payment of 50 million euros in subsidies to Interpol. Human rights NGOs and parliamentarians condemn a maneuver that amounts to buying the presidency of this institution.

“Interpol is a textbook case of privatizing an agency,” accuses Gilles Devers, CEO of AFD International. He initiated two proceedings for this Belgian association, one in Switzerland and the other in Lyon. The lawyer accuses the United Arab Emirates of upsetting the democratic balance with this very important donation to Interpol. The institution lives on the contributions of its 194 member states. The UAE’s share is 0.425% of the budget, or about 243,000 euros in 2019. However, since the countries’ participation is not sufficient, Interpol regularly launches calls for contributions. In 2016, the Emirates undertook to pay 50 million euros for five years, i.e. the annual contribution of around one hundred countries. This made the country the second largest contributor after the United States.

Interpol has been rolling out the red carpet in Abu Dhabi since 2016

“In order to circumvent Interpol’s statutes and financial regulations, which prohibit this seizure of power through money, the Emiratis channeled this donation through the Interpol Foundation for a safer world,” Me Devers denounced. This made it possible to convert public funds into a private donation.” from the foundation to the international organization. Therefore, a lawsuit is being filed in Switzerland for the appointment of a provisional administrator at the head of the foundation. » When asked, the Interpol Foundation did not respond to the JDD.

This donation was the launch pad for General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi’s candidacy

Since this donation in 2016, the red carpet has been rolled out in front of the small country: the opening of an international Interpol headquarters in Abu Dhabi; organizing an Interpol forum on security in 2017 in the capital of the Emirates and even the Interpol General Assembly in 2018; Creation of a post of “Ambassador” of the Foundation, entrusted to an Emirati. “This donation was the starting point for General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi’s candidacy,” adds Me Devers.

Also read – A French judge is investigating the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi after the complaint of six Yemenis

This dignitary’s profile has alarmed several NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and the European Parliament. This inspector general of the UAE’s Interior Ministry has been accused of human rights abuses, particularly against opponent Ahmed Mansour, who allegedly suffered “torture and barbarism”. AFD International filed a complaint in Lyon a few days ago about these terrible suspicions; a process that comes on top of that launched earlier in June by another NGO, the Gulf Center for Human Rights, in Paris.

According to the Emirates, “Interpol’s independence and neutrality are guaranteed”

Both associations refer to the universal jurisprudence of French courts in cases of torture and crimes against humanity. Also concerned, the European Parliament on Thursday approved a resolution dealing with the fate of activist Ahmed Mansour and the profile of the Emirati candidate seeking the head of Interpol. “General Al-Raisi is a respected professional, defending the Embassy of the Emirates in Paris. Our country is a world leader in policing matters.”

Also Read – Why You Shouldn’t Say “an International Arrest Warrant” but Say a Red Notice from Interpol

The function is all the more sensitive given that the organization issues Red Notices, those requests for the arrest of fugitives addressed to states around the world. “Some countries are using them to hunt down opponents, accusing them of terrorism,” Gilles Devers warns. “The President of Interpol must be able to counter any attempt at exploitation.” The Embassy of the Emirates assures that it will denounce any abuse. In an email following our questions, the organization for police cooperation reassured: “Interpol’s independence and neutrality are guaranteed in all agreements signed by the organization. The President is not the leader of the organization. Its function is primarily of a ceremonial nature. it is the Secretary-General who is responsible for day-to-day administration.”

Our country is a world leader in policing matters

This is confirmed by a former Interpol executive. “When Meng Hongwei chaired the organization between 2016 and 2018, the Chinese kept it rain and shine. The donation from the Emirates questioned us and relieved us because we sorely lack the money for our programs. The real question is: why the Member States? don’t you give us the means to work?”

A new candidacy against Abu Dhabi

France appears to be siding with the Emirati candidate. Hubert Julien-Laferrière MP (Ecology, Democracy, Solidarity) wrote to the Interior Minister on June 16 to ask for Paris’ support for a more credible candidate. “There has been radio silence since then,” he said. “I’ve had no great illusions since an Interior Ministry official told me that France supported Al-Raisi’s candidacy. We have very close ties with the Emirates, a big client.” for our armaments industry.”

When asked, the Interior Ministry declined to speak. But a new candidacy could thwart the Emirates’ plans: that of Czech police officer Sárka Havránková, vice president of the Interpol Executive Committee. Behind the scenes, the battle for state votes rages on.

The end of a judicial paradise?

Money isn’t the Emirates’ only argument in the race for the Interpol presidency. As the official Eldorado of the organized crime elite, Dubai has been trying for two years to make promises to its European partners. And France is not the worst served. Four drug traffickers, among the most wanted in France, were arrested on the spot or “pushed” onto a plane.

The series began in December 2020 with the hasty departure of “Turbo”, nickname of Ile-de-France dealer Reda Abakrim, who had been on the run for thirteen years, from Dubai to Morocco, where he was arrested on landing. It continued in February 2021 with the arrest of a Marseille big fish, Hakim Berrebouh, aka “Marca” or “Marcassin”, before his turn in March after ten years by the Anti-Posing Bureau’s number one target, Moufide Bouchibi fell while fleeing. As late as June, when Karim Benkhelif got off a plane from Dubai, another traffic heavyweight was arrested in Portugal.

Across Europe, significant arrests were also made in Dubai. That of the impressive Ridouan Taghi, figure of the cocaine mafia in the Netherlands, in December 2019. Or that of a Neapolitan Camorra expert, Raffaele Imperiale, last August, suspected of being the recipient of 1.4 tons of cocaine seized in 2013 was at Roissy. SJ

Leave a Comment