A new judicial front for the Emirati president of Interpol, Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi. Already targeted by a first investigation, since the end of March he has been the subject of a judicial investigation for “complicity in torture” after the complaint in France by two Britons. The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to AFP on Wednesday May 11 that it had entrusted a Parisian investigating judge with an investigation after a complaint with civil action on “torture” and “arbitrary detention” in 2018 and 2019 including Al – Raisi is said to have been an accomplice as a senior police official in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This type of complaint makes it possible in France to obtain the almost automatic appointment of an investigating judge, who is statutorily independent. A source familiar with the matter therefore tempered with AFP on the “limited range”, at the beginning of the investigations, of such an investigation. The plaintiffs used France’s universal jurisdiction, which allows the French courts to prosecute people suspected of torture if they are in France. Al-Raisi has visited Lyon, where Interpol is based, on several occasions since January. Asked, the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Paris did not react immediately on Wednesday.

“He is ultimately responsible”

The first complainant, Matthew Hedges, is an academic specializing in the United Arab Emirates. During a press conference in Lyon in October, he recounted the accusations of espionage to which he had been subjected during a study trip to prepare for his doctorate, following which he said he had been detained and tortured between May and November 2018 and “forced to make a false confession”. Sentenced to life in November 2018, he was pardoned less than a week later, under international pressure.

During the same conference, Ali Issa Ahmad, a security agent, had meanwhile reported having been beaten several times and even stabbed during a month-long stay in detention between January and February 2019 in the emirate. from Sharjah. The motive, according to him, is that he would have supported the Qatar team too ostensibly during an Asian Cup match. For the plaintiffs, Al-Raisi “is ultimately responsible for the torture perpetrated on them by the Emirati police forces” and “none of this could have happened without his knowledge and involvement”.

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