The international police organization Interpol has a new boss: General Ahmed Naser al-Raisi of the United Arab Emirates. The choice is controversial: human rights groups and critics expressed their concerns about Raisi before the vote, because he is accused of torture and arbitrary detentions.

Raisi has been charged in five countries, including France and Turkey. One of the charges comes from a Briton who claims he was detained and tortured in the United Arab Emirates between May and November 2018. That would have happened after he was arrested during a study trip on false charges of espionage.

The chairman is given a term of four years, the position is mainly ceremonial. The day-to-day management lies with the secretary general, the German Jürgen Stock.

The new chairman and board members were elected this morning at Interpol’s annual General Assembly, which lasts three days. Hundreds of police chiefs, ministers and delegations from member states traveled to Istanbul in Turkey for this purpose.

It was previously said that Raisi had a chance at the presidency. Stock said before the vote that member states would decide on his role.

Raisi succeeds South Korean Kim Jong Yang, who has been chairman since 2018. His term actually lasted until last year, but the General Assembly was unable to continue because of the corona pandemic. Kim Jong Yang took over from the Chinese Meng Hongwei, who suddenly disappeared in 2016 and was sentenced last year to 13.5 years in prison for corruption.

Before the vote, Raisi said he wants to “modernize and reform” Interpol.

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