French court is investigating allegations of torture against an Interpol official

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PARIS – French investigators at a Paris tribunal on Wednesday launched an investigation into allegations of torture against Interpol President Maj. Gen. Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi.

Two British nationals, Matthew Hedges and Ali Isa Ahmed, who were detained in the UAE before al-Raisi was elected president of the France-based World Police Organization, will testify in a specialized judicial unit for the crime against him on Wednesday. Humanitarian and war crimes lawyer of the Paris tribunal.

The two Britons filed criminal charges against al-Raisi before prosecutors at the Paris tribunal in October under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

In January, they filed a criminal complaint directly with the tribunal’s judges to begin an investigation into the allegations against al-Raisi. The new Interpol president was in French territory at the time, visiting the headquarters of the International Police Organization in Lyon.

Al-Raisi was elected president of Interpol in November for a four-year term. Human rights groups have accused him of torture and arbitrary detention in the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE has denied the allegations.

Hedges was a doctoral student in the UAE when he was jailed for nearly seven months in 2018 on espionage charges. He said he was tortured and sometimes kept in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer.

Ahmed says he was detained and tortured by UAE security agents while taking part in the 2019 Asian Cup football tournament in the Gulf country.

Under French law, “an open investigation should result in Al-Raisi being detained for questioning while on French soil,” said Rodney Dixon, a British international lawyer.

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