Interpol has elected a United Arab Emirates official as its new president during the international law enforcement body’s annual General Assembly held in Istanbul.
Major General Ahmed Naser al Raisi, inspector general at the United Arab Emirates’ interior ministry and a member of Interpol’s executive committee, was elected on Thursday for one four-year term, the global policing body announced.
“It’s an honour to have been elected to serve as the next president of Interpol," the global police agency quoted Raisi as saying.
“Interpol is an indispensable organisation built on the strength of its partnerships. It is this collaborative spirit, united in mission, that I will continue to foster as we work to make a safer world for people and communities," he said.
He pledged to modernise Interpol’s technology, promote women and meet new challenges like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.
“I will also continue to reaffirm a core tenet of our profession – that police abuse or mistreatment of any kind is abhorrent and intolerable,” he said in a statement on his website.
“The credibility and standing of Interpol and global law enforcement is our most important asset.”
Interpol said Raisi was elected following three rounds of voting and received 68.9 percent of the votes cast in the final round.
Celebrations amid criminal allegations
In the UAE, now hosting the Expo 2020 world’s fair in Dubai and marking the 50th anniversary of its founding, Emirati officials celebrated Raisi’s selection.
Interior Minister Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan said it demonstrated “the world’s confidence in the UAE.”
The vote for president was closely watched since the first-ever Chinese president of the body, Meng Hongwei, vanished midway through his four-year term on a return trip to China in 2018.
It subsequently emerged that he had been detained and accused of bribery and other crimes.
Raisi, on the other hand, has been accused by human rights groups of involvement in torture and arbitrary detentions in the UAE.
He replaces Kim Jong Yan from South Korea, a vice president who was swiftly elected as a replacement to serve out the rest of Meng’s term.