Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi

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Al-Raisi in 2018

Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi (also romanised as Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi[1][2]) is an Emirati general. He currently serves as the president of Interpol and the inspector general of the United Arab Emirate's interior ministry.

Early career and education[edit]

According to his website, Al-Raisi joined the Abu Dhabi police force in 1980 as a member of the "burglar alarm branch".[3] He rose through the ranks to become General Director of Central Operations in 2005.[4] He received a BSc in computer science from Otterbein University in 1986, an diploma in police management from the University of Cambridge in 2004, an MBA from Coventry University in 2010 and a doctorate from London Metropolitan University in 2013.[3][5][6]

He co-authored Social & security impact of the internet, which was published by the Emirates Center For Strategic Studies and Research in 2009.[7]


He was appointed General Inspector of the interior ministry in 2015.[8] He played a key role in the arrest of Matthew Hedges, a British academic accused of espionage by the UAE regime, in 2018.[8] Human rights organisations say that Raisi oversees a "notoriously abusive" state security apparatus, which has misused the red notice system of Interpol.[9]

He is a member of Interpol's executive committee[10][11] and has served as the delegate of Asia since 2018.[12]

Interpol presidential candidacy[edit]

He was the official candidate of the United Arab Emirates to succeed Kim Jong Yang as President of Interpol in 2022.[1] Accused of presiding over torture,[13][14] his candidacy was strongly condemned by human rights groups. A coalition of 19 human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and the Gulf Center for Human Rights, wrote an open letter to Interpol advising against his appointment.[4][15][16] A report by David Calvert-Smith, a former chief prosecutor of the United Kingdom, said that Al-Raisi is unsuited to the post.[17][8][18] Matthew Hedges asked members of Interpol not to consider Al-Raisi for the position.[19]

In June 2021, a criminal complaint was filed in Paris by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights against Al-Raisi. The complaint accuses him of being responsible for the torture of Ahmed Mansoor, a prominent UAE dissident arrested in 2017.[20][21]

Unusual for a normally opaque process,[22] the UAE was promoting Al-Raisi by arranging his trips to the Interpol member countries to gain support, while he was viewed as an “international pariah”.[22][23]

Al-Raisi was sued in multiple countries.[22] Rodney Dixon, the lawyer of Matthew Hedges and Ali Ahmad, raised a complaint with the Sweden police to arrest al-Raisi upon his arrival to the country, as part of his campaign tour before the vote.[24] Hedges and Ahmad raised a similar request with the Norwegian police authorities, asking them for help and to use the opportunity of al-Raisi’s visit to arrest him, if an investigation is opened.[25]

In November 2021, three members of the German parliament released a joint statement which said that electing Al-Raisi would endanger the reputation of Interpol and that the nomination violates the second article of Interpol's basic law.[26][27] Thirty-five French legislators asked Emmanuel Macron to oppose Al-Raisi's candidacy in a letter.[26] The United Arab Emirates rejected the German MP's concerns and said that they were proud of being "one of the safest countries in the world".[26]


The election took place in Istanbul on 25 November with Al-Raisi running against Šárka Havránková, a vice president of Interpol.[28][29][30] Al-Raisi won after three rounds of voting and was elected for a four-year term with about 69% of votes.[30][31] He is the first candidate from the Middle East to be elected president.[32]

The United Arab Emirates are the second-largest contributor to Interpol's budget, which has led to allegations that the UAE bought the outcome of the election.[17][31] Al-Raisi's part-time role will be mostly ceremonial,[17][30][33] a fact Interpol emphasised repeatedly.[17][2] However, Al-Raisi seems keen to change Interpol's policies.[17] His campaign promise to increase the use of modern technology at Interpol was seen by some as a reference to the electronic surveillance tools used by authoritarian regimes.[17][33] Writing for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Ulrich Schmid [de] called Al-Raisi's election a reason for authoritarian countries to celebrate, as it would further erode the standing of human rights in international organisations.[33] The Guardian's Ruth Michaelson characterised the election as a "big soft-power win" for the UAE.[34]

Outside activities[edit]

Al-Raisi is the chairman of the American University in the Emirates' board of trustees.[6] He also chairs the board of directors of the Baniyas Club.[35]


  1. ^ a b Cumming-Bruce, Nick (2021-04-20). "Is Dubai Princess, Unseen in Public, Still Alive?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  2. ^ a b Mayer-Rüth, Oliver (2021-11-23). "Foltervorwürfe: Interpol-Präsidentschaftskandidat im Zwielicht". Bayerischer Rundfunk (in German). Retrieved 2021-11-24.
  3. ^ a b MacDonald, Alex (2021-11-24). "Who is Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, the new Interpol chief accused of torture?". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  4. ^ a b Zatat, Narjas (8 April 2021). "UAE candidate cannot become Interpol president due to country's human rights abuses, says UK report". alaraby. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  5. ^ Al-Raisi, Ahmed Naser (2013). An investigation into performance, stress level, auditing and evaluation of core skills training among staff working in emergency operation services, search and rescue and disaster response teams in Abu Dhabi Police GHQ (Ph.D. thesis). London Metropolitan University.
  6. ^ a b "Major Gen. Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi". American University in the Emirates. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  7. ^ Al Raisi, Ahmed Naser; El-Bushra, Mohammad El-Amin; United Arab Emirates; Ministry of Interior. Abu Dhabi Police G.H.Q. Center of Research and Security Studies (2009). Social & security impact of the internet. Abu Dhabi: Center of Research and Security Studies. ISBN 978-9948-15-099-2. OCLC 1006303163.
  8. ^ a b c Wintour, Patrick (2021-04-07). "UAE general unsuitable for role of Interpol chief, says UK report". Patrick Wintour. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  9. ^ Jacobs, Josh (2021-10-17). "Has Interpol become the long arm of oppressive regimes?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  10. ^ "Interpol: UAE Official's Candidacy Raises Human Rights Alarms". Human Rights Watch. 2021-05-05. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  11. ^ "Executive Committee". www.interpol.int. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  12. ^ "Dubai's Police Chief Nasser Ahmed al-Raisi Wants To Head Interpol". Taarifa Rwanda. 2020-11-23. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  13. ^ Johnson, Jamie (2020-10-01). "Exclusive: UAE police chief accused of presiding over torture of British academic running to be head of Interpol". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  14. ^ Van Esch, Fran (2021-11-22). "Beschuldigd van marteling maar wel kans om Interpol-baas te worden: kandidatuur generaal al-Raisi onder vuur". VRT NWS (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  15. ^ "Rights organisations object to UAE police chief nominated as INTERPOL head". Middle East Monitor. 2020-10-30. Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  16. ^ Speri, Alice; Hvistendahl, Mara (2021-11-21). "INTERPOL'S UPCOMING ELECTION RAISES FEARS ABOUT AUTHORITARIAN INFLUENCE". The Intercept. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Daragahi, Borzou (2021-11-25). "Interpol appoints UAE official accused of torture as chief". The Independent. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  18. ^ Calvert-Smith, David (March 2021). "Undue influence: The UAE and Interpol." Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  19. ^ "UK academic Matthew Hedges slams UAE general's bid to head Interpol". Middle East Eye. 6 October 2020. Retrieved 2021-10-11.
  20. ^ "United Arab Emirates: GCHR files complaint in France against Maj. Gen. Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi for torture of Ahmed Mansoor". Gulf Centre For Human Rights. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  21. ^ Seibert, Thomas (2021-11-19). "Ein Folterer als oberster Polizist? Dieser Emirati möchte an die Spitze der Interpol". Luzerner Zeitung. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  22. ^ a b c Michaelson, Ruth (2021-11-20). "'He is responsible for torture': nominee for Interpol chief accused by detained Britons". The Observer. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  23. ^ "The UAE promote its "international pariah" candidate for the Interpol presidency". Emirates Leaks. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Top candidate for Interpol accused of torture – reported in Sweden". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  25. ^ "They were arrested and tortured. The man they believe is responsible could be Interpol's next president". Nouvelles du monde. 13 November 2021. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  26. ^ a b c Knipp, Kersten (2021-11-16). "Interpol: Vorwürfe gegen Kandidaten aus den VAE". Deutsche Welle (in German). Retrieved 2021-11-16.
  27. ^ Gehring, Kai; Schwabe, Frank; Heidt, Peter. "Gemeinsame Erklärung" (PDF) (Press release) (in German). Retrieved 2021-11-16.
  28. ^ Rai, Sarakshi (2021-11-22). "Human rights groups sound alarm over Interpol election". The Hill. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  29. ^ Crowcroft, Orlando (2021-11-23). "In Istanbul, a bitter leadership election exposes Interpol's fault lines". Euronews. Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  30. ^ a b c "Interpol appoints Emirati general accused of torture as president". The Guardian. 2021-11-25. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  31. ^ a b "Umstrittener Generalmajor wird Interpol-Chef". Die Zeit (in German). 2021-11-25. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  32. ^ Issa, Michel Tala (2021-11-25). "UAE Major General Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi elected as new Interpol President". Al Arabiya English. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  33. ^ a b c Schmid, Ulrich (2021-11-25). "Zwielichtiger Emirati wird Interpol-Chef". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  34. ^ Michaelson, Ruth (2021-11-25). "Interpol's president: alleged torturer rises as symbol of UAE soft power". The Guardian. Retrieved 2021-11-25.
  35. ^ Baniyas Media Department (2021-04-27). "Sports day for the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with Baniyas Club". Baniyas Club. Retrieved 2021-11-26.