Interpol president accused of torture during judge tenure

Written by Staff Writer with Input from Zohra Bensemra, CNN

The new president of Interpol has been accused of overseeing the torture of political prisoners while a judge.

Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Maktoum, who is an Emirati general and an active member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, was named Interpol’s president at its General Assembly in Paris last week.

The decision was ratified by the Arab League and a majority of member countries, the organization announced Friday.

Khalid Bin Hamad Al-Maktoum, general secretary of Interpol, speaks during a press conference in Paris on May 22, 2012. Credit: EUTERS/Thibault Camus

Torture watchdog group Global Witness has called for a “thorough, independent and public investigation” into his allegations and wants Interpol to remove him from his role until the allegations are investigated.

The revelations come two months after General Director Meng Hongwei resigned amid the sudden disappearance of his wife and then his arrest in China. The next day, Meng’s successor, Al-Maktoum, appeared at Interpol’s helm for the first time.

A South African newspaper, The Citizen, also ran a report in April about allegations Al-Maktoum was involved in the torture of prisoners during his time as a judge. The report is based on three unidentified sources, Global Witness told CNN.

Interpol has denied the allegations, saying it is no longer in control of the court and as such can’t investigate them.

In the past, the organization has established teams to investigate and follow up on corruption allegations. It says it has so far led to the removal of 40 people and the conviction of 18, most of them linked to organized crime or war-related crimes.

The corporation, which helps facilitate international crime-related information sharing, is not a police force but a nonprofit dedicated to fighting crime. It’s headquartered in Lyon, France.

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